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THE  MYTHOLOGY  OF  ALL  RACES 


Volume  III 
CELTIC 
SLAVIC 


Volume  I.    Greek  and  Roman 
William  Sherwood  Fox,  Ph.D.,  Princeton  University. 

Volume  II.    Eddie 

Axel  Olrik,  Ph.D.,  University  of  Copenhagen. 

Volume  III.     Celtic,  Slavic 

Canon  John  A.  MacCulloch,  D.D.,  Bridge  of  Allan,  Scotland. 

Jan  MAchal,  Ph.D.,  Bohemian  University,  Prague. 

Volume  IV.     Finno-Ugric,  Siberian 
Uno  Holmberg,  Ph.D.,  University  of  Finland,  Helsingfors. 

Volume  V.    Semilic 
R.  Campbell  Thompson,  M.A.,  F.S.A.,  F.R.G.S.,  0.\ford. 

Volume  Yl.    Indian,  Iranian 
A.  Berriedale  Keith,  D.C.L.,  Edinburgh  University. 
Albert  J.  Carnoy,  Ph.D.,  University  of  Louvain. 

Volume  VII.    Armenian,  African 
Makoiros  Ananikian,  B.D.,  Kennedy  School  of  Missions,  Hart- 
ford, Connecticut. 
Alice  Werner,  L.L.A.  (St.  Andrews);  School  of  Oriental  Studies,  London 

Volume  VIII.     Chinese,  Japanese 

U.  Hattori,  Litt  D.,  University  of  Tokyo. 
(Japanese  Exchange  Professor  at  Harvard  University,  iQij-iQid) 

Masaharu  Anesaki,  Litt.D.,  University  of  Tokyo. 
(Japanese  Exchange  Professor  at  Harvard  University,  iQi^-igis) 

Volume  IX.     Oceanic 
Roland  Burrage  Ddcon,  Ph.D.,  Harvard  University. 

Volume  X.    American  {North  of  Mexico) 
Hartley  Burr  Alexander,  Ph.D.,  University  of  Nebraska. 

Volume  XI.    American  {Latin) 
Hartley  Burr  Alexander,  Ph.D.,  University  of  Nebraska. 

Volume  XII.     Egyptian,  Indo-Chinese 
W.  Max  MiJLLER,  Ph.D.,  University  of  Pennsylvania. 
Sir  James  George  Scott,  K.C.I.E.,  London^.. 

Volume  XIII.    Index 


.,!^ 


'Jf0^mmK 


PLATE   I 

Brug  na  Boinne 

The  tumulus  at  New  Grange  is  the  largest  of  a 
group  of  three  at  Dowth,  New  Grange,  and  Knowth, 
County  Aieath,  on  the  banks  of  the  Boyne  in  the 
plain  known  to  Irish  tales  as  Brug  na  Boinne,  the 
traditional  burial-place  of  the  Tuatha  De  Danann 
and  of  the  Kings  of  Tara.  It  was  also  associated 
with  the  Tuatha  De  Danann  as  their  immortal 
dwelling-place,  e.  g.  of  Oengus  of  the  Brug  (see  pp. 
50-51,  66-67,  ^7^77)-  The  tumuli  are  perhaps  of 
the  neolithic  age  (for  plans  see  Plate  VI,  A  and  B). 


191 


..// 


THE  MYTHOLOGY 


OF  ALL  RACES 

IN  THIRTEEN  VOLUMES 


^^^S^^f^ 


OCT  8   ic 


LOUIS    HERBERT    GRAY,   A.M.,  PH.D.,   Editor 

GEORGE    FOOT    MOORE,   A.M.,  D.D.,  LL.D.,  Consulting  Editor 


l^ui  v.: 


CELTIC 


BY 


JOHN   ARNOTT   MACCULLOCH, 

HON.   D.  D.   (sT.  ANDREWS) 


SLAVIC 


BY 
JAN   MACHAL,  ph.d. 

WITH   A   CHAPTER  ON    BALTIC   MYTHOLOGY   BY 
THE   EDITOR 


VOLUME  III 


BOSTON 
MARSHALL   JONES   COMPANY 
M  DCCCC  XVIII 


Copyright,  191 8 
By  Marshall  Jones  Company 


Entered  at  Stationers'  Hall,  London 


All  rights  reserved 
Printed  June,  191 8 


PRINTED   IN   THE    UNITED   STATES   OF   AMERICA    BY   THE   UNIVERSITY   PRESS 
CAMBRIDGE,   MASSACHUSETTS 

BOUND   BY   THE   BOSTON    BOOKBINDING   COMPANY 


CONTENTS 

CELTIC 


PAGE 


Author's  Preface S 

Introduction 7 

Chapter  I.   The  Strife  of  the  Gods 23 

II.     TUATHA    De    DaNANN    AND    MiLESIANS.     ...  42 

III.  The  Division  of  the  Sid 49 

IV.  Mythic  Powers  of  the  Gods 54 

V.   Gods  Helping  Mortals 62 

VI.   Divine  Enmity  and  Punishment 68 

VII.   The  Loves  of  the  Gods 78 

VIII.   The  Myths  of  the  British  Celts    ....  92 

IX.   The  Divine  Land 114 

X.   Mythical  Animals  and  Other  Beings.    .    .  124 

XL   Myths  of  Origins 135 

XII.   The   Heroic   Myths  —  I.    Cuchulainn  and 

his  Circle 139 

XIII.  The    Heroic    Myths  —  II.    Fionn  and  the 

Feinn 160 

XIV.  The  Heroic  Myths  —  HI.   Arthur  ....  184 
XV.    Paganism  and  Christianity 206 


vi  CONTENTS 

SLAVIC 

PAGE 

Editor's  Preface 217 

Pronunciation      219 

Introduction 221 

Part  I.   The  Genii 225 

Chapter  I.    Belief  in  Soul  and  Genii 227 

II.   Worship    of    the    Dead,    Especially    An- 
cestors      233 

III.  The  Household  Gods 240 

IV.  Genii  of  Fate 249 

V.   Navky  and  Rusalky 253 

VI.     ViLY 256 

VII.    Silvan  Spirits 261 

VIII.    Field-Spirits 267 

IX.   Water-Spirits 270 

X.   Sun,  Moon,  and  Stars 273 

Part  II.     The  Deities  of  the  Elbe  Slavs 275 

Chapter  I.   Svantovit 279 

II.   Triglav 284 

III.     SVARAZIC 286 

V 

IV.    Cernobog 288 

V.    Other  Deities 289 

Part  III.     The  Deities  of  the  Pagan  Russians     ....  291 

Chapter  I.    Perun 293 

II.   Dazbog 297 

III.  SvAROzic  and  Svarog 298 

IV.  Chors 299 

V.   Veles,  Volos,  and  Stribog 300 

Part  IV.     Cult  and  Festivals 303 

Chapter  I.   Worship  of  the  Gods 305 

II.   The  Koleda 307 


CONTENTS  vli 


PAGE 


III.  The  Rusalye 311 

IV.  The  Kupalo  and  Jarilo 313 

Part  V.     Baltic  Mythology 315 

Notes,  Celtic 333 

Notes,  Slavic 35 1 

Bibliography,  Celtic 365 

Bibliography,  Slavic 389 


ILLUSTRATIONS 

PLATE  FACING  PAGE 

I    Brug  na  Boinne  —  Coloured Frontispiece 

II   Gaulish  Coins 8 

1.  Horse  and  Wheel-Symbol 

2.  Horse,  Conjoined  Circles  and  S-Symbol 

3.  Man-Headed  Horse  and  Wheel 

4.  Bull  and  S-Symbol 

5.  Bull 

6.  Sword  and  Warrior  Dancing  Before  it 
7-8.  Swastika  Composed  of  Two  S-Symbols  (?) 

9-10.  Bull's  Head  and  two  S-Symbols;  Bear  Eating  a 
Serpent 
II.  Wolf  and  S-Symbols 

III  Gaulish  Coins 14 

1.  Animals  Opposed,  and  Boar  and  Wolf  (?) 

2.  Man-Headed  Horse  and  Bird,  and  Bull  Ensign 

3.  Squatting  Divinity,  and  Boar  and  S-Symbol  or  Snake 

4.  Horse  and  Bird 

5.  Bull  and  Bird 

6.  Boar 

7.  Animals  Opposed 

IV  God  with  the  Wheel      20 

V   Smertullos 40 

VI   A.    Plan  of  the  Brug  na  Boinne 50 

B.    Plan  of  the  Brug  na  Boinne 50 

VII   Three-Headed  God 56 

VIII    Squatting  God 72 

IX  A.   Altar  from  Saintes 86 

B.    Reverse  Side  of  the  same  Altar 86 

X   Incised  Stones  from  Scotland      94 

1.  The"Picardy  Stone" 

2.  The  "Newton  Stone" 


X  ILLUSTRATIONS 

PLATE  FAONC  PAGE 

XI   Gauls  and  Romans  in  Combat io6 

XII   Three-Headed  God 112 

XIII  Sucellos 116 

XIV  Dispater  and  Aeracura  (?) 120 

XV   Epona 124 

XVI    Cernunnos 128 

XVII    Incised  Stones  from  Scotland 134 

1.  The  "Crichie  Stone" 

2.  An  Incised  Scottish  Stone 

XVIII    Menhir  of  Kernuz 140 

XIX   Bulls  and  S-Symbols 152 

I,  6.  Carvings  of  Bulls  from  Burghhead 
2-5.  S-Symbols 

XX  A.    Altar  from  Notre  Dame.     Esus 158 

B.    Altar  from  Notre  Dame.     Tarvos  Trigaranos    .  158 

XXI   Altar  from  Treves 166 

XXII    Page  of  an  Irish  Manuscript 176 

XXIII  Artio 186 

XXIV  Boars 188 

XXV   Horned  God 204 

XXVI    Sucellos 208 

XXVII    Zadusnica 237 

XXVIII    Djadek 244 

XXIX   Setek 244 

XXX   Lesni  Zenka 261 

XXXI    Svantovit 279 

XXXH    Festival  of  Svantovit 281 

XXXIII  Radigast 286 

XXXIV  Idealizations  of  Slavic  Divinities 288 

1.  Svantovit 

2.  Ziva 

3.  Cernobog  and  Tribog 

XXXV  Veles 300 

XXXVI    Ancient  Slavic  Sacrifice 305 

XXXVH   The  Sacred  Oak  of  Romowe 305 


CELTIC  MYTHOLOGY 


BY 


JOHN  ARNOrr   MACCULLOCH,  Hon.  D.D.  (St.  Andrews) 

RECTOR  OF  ST.  SAVIOUr's,  BRIDGE  OF  ALLAN,  STIRLINGSHIRE,  AND  HONORARY 
CANON  OF  CUMBRAE  CATHEDRAL 


TO 
DR.  JAMES   HASTINGS 

Editor  of  the  Encyclop<zdia  of  Religion  and  Ethics, 
THE  Dictionary  of  the  Bible,  etc. 

WITH    THE    GRATITUDE    AND    RESPECT    OF    THE    AUTHOR 


AUTHOR'S   PREFACE 

rj  a  former  work  *  I  have  considered  at  some  length  the  re- 
ligion of  the  ancient  Celts;  the  present  study  describes  those 
Celtic  myths  which  remain  to  us  as  a  precious  legacy  from 
the  past,  and  is  supplementary  to  the  earlier  book.  These 
myths,  as  I  show,  seldom  exist  as  the  pagan  Celts  knew  them, 
for  they  have  been  altered  in  various  ways,  since  romance, 
pseudo-history,  and  the  influences  of  Christianity  have  all 
affected  many  of  them.  Still  they  are  full  of  interest,  and  it 
is  not  difficult  to  perceive  traces  of  old  ideas  and  mythical 
conceptions  beneath  the  surface.  Transformation  allied  to 
rebirth  was  asserted  of  various  Celtic  divinities,  and  if  the 
myths  have  been  transformed,  enough  of  their  old  selves  re- 
mained for  identification  after  romantic  writers  and  pseudo- 
historians  gave  them  a  new  existence.  Some  mythic  incidents 
doubtless  survive  much  as  they  were  in  the  days  of  old,  but 
all  alike  witness  to  the  many-sided  character  of  the  life  and 
thought  of  their  Celtic  progenitors  and  transmitters.  Romance 
and  love,  war  and  slaughter,  noble  deeds  as  well  as  foul,  wordy 
boastfulness  but  also  delightful  poetic  utterance,  glamour  and 
sordid  reality,  beauty  if  also  squalid  conditions  of  life,  are  found 
side  by  side  in  these  stories  of  ancient  Ireland  and  Wales. 

The  illustrations  are  the  work  of  my  daughter,  Sheila  Mac- 
Culloch,  and  I  have  to  thank  the  authorities  of  the  British 
Museum  for  permission  to  copy  illustrations  from  their  publica- 
tions; Mr.  George  Coffey  for  permission  to  copy  drawings  and 
photographs  of  the  Tumuli  at  New  Grange  from  his  book  New 
Grange  {Brugh  na  Boinne)  and  other  Inscribed  Tumuli  in  Ire- 
land; the  Librarians  of  Trinity  College,  Dublin,  and  the  Bod- 

*  The  Religion  of  the  Ancient  Celts,  Edinburgh,  191 1. 


6  AUTHOR'S  PREFACE 

leian  Library,  Oxford,  for  permission  to  photograph  pages 
from  well-known  Irish  MSS.;  and  Mr.  R.  J.  Best  for  the  use 
of  his  photographs  of  MSS. 

In  writing  this  book  it  has  been  some  relief  to  try  to  lose 
oneself  in  it  and  to  forget,  in  turning  over  the  pages  of  the 
past,  the  dark  cloud  which  hangs  over  our  modem  life  in  these 
sad  days  of  the  great  war,  sad  yet  noble,  because  of  the  freely 
oflFered  sacrifice  of  life  and  all  that  life  holds  dear  by  so  many  of 
my  countrymen  and  our  heroic  allies  in  defence  of  liberty. 

J.  A.   MACCULLOCH. 

Bridge  of  Allan,  Scotland, 
May,  i6,  1916. 


Ill — I 


INTRODUCTION 

IN  all  lands  whither  the  Celts  came  as  conquerors  there  was 
an  existing  population  with  whom  they  must  eventually 
have  made  alliances.  They  imposed  their  language  upon  them 
—  the  Celtic  regions  are  or  were  recently  regions  of  Celtic 
speech  —  but  just  as  many  words  of  the  aboriginal  vernacular 
must  have  been  taken  over  by  the  conquerors,  or  their  own 
tongue  modified  by  Celtic,  so  must  it  have  been  with  their 
mythology.  Celtic  and  pre-Celtic  folk  alike  had  many  myths, 
and  these  were  bound  to  intermingle,  with  the  result  that  such 
Celtic  legends  as  we  possess  must  contain  remnants  of  the 
aboriginal  mythology,  though  it,  like  the  descendants  of 
the  aborigines,  has  become  Celtic.  It  would  be  difficult,  in 
the  existing  condition  of  the  old  mythology,  to  say  this  is  of 
Celtic,  that  of  non-Celtic  origin,  for  that  mythology  is  now 
but  fragmentary.  The  gods  of  the  Celts  were  many,  but  of 
large  cantles  of  the  Celtic  race  —  the  Celts  of  Gaul  and  of 
other  parts  of  the  continent  of  Europe  —  scarcely  any  myths 
have  survived.  A  few  sentences  of  Classical  writers  or  images 
of  divinities  or  scenes  depicted  on  monuments  point  to  what 
was  once  a  rich  mythology.  These  monuments,  as  well  as  in- 
scriptions with  names  of  deities,  are  numerous  there  as  well  as 
in  parts  of  Roman  Britain,  and  belong  to  the  Romano-Celtic 
period.  In  Ireland,  Wales,  and  north-western  Scotland  they 
do  not  exist,  though  in  Ireland  and  Wales  there  is  a  copious 
literature  based  on  mythology.  Indeed,  we  may  express  the 
condition  of  affairs  in  a  formula:  Of  the  gods  of  the  Conti- 
nental Celts  many  monuments  and  no  myths;  of  those  of  the 
Insular  Celts  many  myths  but  no  monuments. 

The  myths  of  the  Continental  Celts  were  probably  never 

1 1 1 — 2        ' 


8  INTRODUCTION 

committed  to  writing.  They  were  contained  in  the  sacred  verses 
taught  by  the  Druids,  but  it  was  not  lawful  to  write  them 
down;'  they  were  tabu,  and  doubtless  their  value  would  have 
vanished  if  they  had  been  set  forth  in  script.  The  influences  of 
Roman  civilization  and  religion  were  fatal  to  the  oral  mythol- 
ogy taught  by  Druids,  who  were  ruthlessly  extirpated,  while 
the  old  religion  was  assimilated  to  that  of  Rome.  The  gods 
were  equated  with  Roman  gods,  who  tended  to  take  their 
place;  the  people  became  Romanized  and  forgot  their  old 
beliefs.  Doubtless  traditions  survived  among  the  folk,  and 
may  still  exist  as  folk-lore  or  fairy  superstition,  just  as  folk- 
customs,  the  meaning  of  which  may  be  uncertain  to  those  who 
practise  them,  are  descended  from  the  rituals  of  a  vanished 
paganism;  but  such  existing  traditions  could  be  used  only 
with  great  caution  as  indexes  of  the  older  myths. 

There  were  hundreds  of  Gaulish  and  Romano-British  gods, 
as  an  examination  of  the  Latin  inscriptions  found  in  Gaul  and 
Britain^  or  of  Alfred  Holder's  Altceltischer  Sprachschatz^  will 
show.  Many  are  equated  with  the  same  Roman  god,  and  most 
of  them  were  local  deities  with  similar  functions,  though  some 
may  have  been  more  widely  popular;  but  we  can  never  be  sure 
to  what  aspect  of  the  Roman  divinity's  personality  a  parallel 
was  found  in  their  functions.  Moreover,  though  in  some  cases 
philology  shows  us  the  meaning  of  their  names,  it  would  avail 
little  to  speculate  upon  that  meaning,  tempting  as  this  may  be 
—  a  temptation  not  always  successfully  resisted.  This  is  also 
true  of  the  symbols  depicted  on  monuments,  though  here  the 
function,  if  not  the  myth,  is  more  readily  suggested.  Why  are 
some  deities  horned  or  three-headed,  or  why  does  one  god  carry 
a  wheel,  a  hammer,  or  an  S-symbol.?  Horns  may  suggest  divine 
strength  or  an  earlier  beast-god,  the  wheel  may  be  the  sun,  the 
hammer  may  denote  creative  power.  Other  symbols  resemble 
those  of  Classical  divinities,  and  here  the  meaning  is  more  ob- 
vious. The  three  Matres,  or  "Mothers,"  with  their  symbols  of 
fertility  were  Earth  Mothers;   the  horned  deity  with  a  bag  of 


PLATE   II 

Gaulish  Coins 

1.  Coin  of  the  Nervii,  with  horse  and  wheel- 
symbol  (cf.  Plates  III,  4,  IV,  XV). 

2.  Gaulish  coin,  with  horse,  conjoined  circles, 
and  S-symbol  (cf.  Plates  III,  3,  IV,  XIX,  2-5). 

3.  Coin  of  the  Cenomani,  with  man-headed  horse 
(cf.  Plate  III,  2)  and  wheel. 

4.  Coin  of  the  Remi  (.?),  with  bull  (cf.  Plates  III, 
5,  IX,  B,  XIX,  I,  6,  XX,  B,  XXI),  and  S-symbol. 

5.  Coin  of  the  Turones,  with  bull. 

6.  Armorican  coin,  showing  sword  and  warrior 
dancing  before  it  (exemplifying  the  cult  of  weapons; 

cf.  pp.  33-34)- 

7.  8.  Gaulish  coins,  with  swastika  composed  of 
two  S-symbols  (.''). 

9,  10.  Gaulish  coin,  showing  bull's  head  and  two 
S-symbols;  reverse,  bear  (cf.  Plate  XXIII)  eating 
a  serpent. 

II.  Coin  of  the  Carnutes,  showing  wolf  (cf.  Plate 
III,  i)  and  S-symbols. 


II 


INTRODUCTION  9 

grain  was  a  god  of  plenty.  Such  a  goddess  as  Epona  was  a 
divinity  of  horses  and  mules,  and  she  is  represented  as  riding  a 
horse  or  feeding  foals.  But  what  myths  lie  behind  the  repre- 
sentation of  Esus  cutting  down  a  tree,  whose  branches,  extend- 
ing round  another  side  of  the  monument,  cover  a  bull  and  three 
cranes — Tarvos  Trigaranos?  Is  this  the  incident  depicted  on 
another  monument  with  a  bull's  head  among  branches  on 
which  two  birds  are  perched  .^^ 

Glimpses  of  myths  are  seen  in  Classical  references  to  Celtic 
gods.  Caesar,  whose  information  (or  that  of  his  source)  about 
the  gods  of  Gaul  is  fragmentary,  writes:  "They  worship  chiefly 
the  god  Mercury.  Of  him  there  are  many  simulacra;  ^  they 
make  him  inventor  of  all  arts  and  guide  of  journeys  and 
marches,  and  they  suppose  him  to  have  great  power  over  the 
acquiring  of  money  and  in  matters  of  merchandise.  After  him 
come  Apollo,  Mars,  Jupiter,  and  Minerva.  Concerning  these 
they  hold  much  the  same  opinions  as  other  nations  —  Apollo 
repels  diseases,  Minerva  teaches  the  beginnings  of  arts  and 
crafts,  Jupiter  sways  celestial  aff"airs.  Mars  directs  wars."^ 
There  is  no  evidence  that  all  the  Gauls  worshipped  a  few  gods. 
Many  local  deities  with  similar  functions  but  difi"erent  names 
is  the  evidence  of  the  inscriptions,  and  these  are  grouped  col- 
lectively by  Caesar  and  assimilated  to  Roman  divinities.  There 
are  many  local  Mercuries,  Minervas,  Apollos,  and  the  like, 
each  with  his  Celtic  name  attached  to  that  of  the  Roman  god. 
Or,  again,  they  are  nameless,  as  in  the  case  of  the  Yorkshire 
inscription,  "To  the  god  who  invented  roads  and  paths"  — 
an  obvious  Mercury.  Caesar  adds,  "The  Gauls  declare  that 
they  are  descended  from  Dispater,  and  this,  they  say,  has  been 
handed  down  by  the  Druids."  ^  If,  as  the  present  writer  has 
tried  to  show  elsewhere,^  Dispater  is  the  Roman  name  of  a 
Celtic  god,  whether  Cernunnos,  or  the  god  with  the  hammer, 
or  Esus,  or  all  three,  who  ruled  a  rich  underworld,  then  this 
myth  resembles  many  told  elsewhere  of  the  first  men  emerging 
from  the  earth,  the  autochthones.    The  parallel  Celtic  myth 


lo  INTRODUCTION 

has  not  survived.  In  Ireland,  If  it  ever  existed  there,  it  gave 
place  to  stories  of  descent  from  fictitious  personages,  like 
Mile,  son  of  Bile,  invented  by  the  early  scribes,  or  from  Biblical 
patriarchs. 

Apollonjus,  writing  in  the  third  century  b.  C^  reports  a 
Celticmyth  about  the  waters  of  Eridanus.  ^polloy  driven  by 
his  father's  threats  from  heaven  because  of  the  son  whom 
Karonis  bore  to  him,  fled  to  the  land  of  the  Hypejebereans ; 
and  the  tears  which  he  shed  on  the  way  formed  the  tossing 
waters.^  Some.  Greek  myth  is  here  mingled  with  a  lQC_al  legend 
about  the  origin  of  a  stream  and  a  Celtic ^od^ possibly  E^loios, 
who  had  a  neighbouring  temple  alAqiiileia.  In  an  island  of  the 
Hypf^r|]>£vr^ans  (a  Cellic^people  dwelling  beyond  the  RHpaean 
-Mountains  wheii£e_JBorea&-Jbtlew)  was  a  cixculax-teaiple  where 
Applln  was  worshipped.  Every  year  near  the  yemaLer^iiiaox 
the  god  appeared  in  the  sky,  harping_and  dancings  until  the 
rising=ai4hePleiades.^°  It  is  natural  that  this  "  Guxulax-temple  " 
should  have  been  found  i"  St^ri'^b^ngf 

Lucian  (second  century  a.  d.)  describes  a  Gaulish  god  Og- 
mios,  represented  as  an  old  man,  bald-headed  and  with 
wrinkled  and  sun-burnt  skin,  yet  possessing  the  attributes  of 
Hercules  —  the  lion's  skin,  the  club,  the  bow,  and  a  sheath 
hung  from  his  shoulder.  He  draws  a  multitude  by  beautiful 
chains  of  gold  and  amber  attached  to  their  ears,  and  they  follow 
him  with  joy.  The  other  end  of  the  chains  is  fixed  to  his  tongue, 
and  he  turns  to  his  captives  a  smiling  countenance.  A  Gaul 
explained  that  the  native  god  of  eloquence  was  regarded  as 
Hercules,  because  he  had  accomplished  his  feats  through  elo- 
quence; he  was  old,  for  speech  shows  itself  best  in  old  age;  the 
chains  indicated  the  bond  between  the  orator's  tongue  and  the 
ears  of  enraptured  listeners. ^^ 

Lucian  may  have  seen  such  a  representation  or  heard  of  a 
Gaulish  myth  of  this  kind,  and  as  we  shall  see,  an  Irish  god 
Ogma,  whose  name  is  akin  to  that  of  Ogmios,  was  a  divine 
warrior  and   a   god  of  poetry  and   speech.     Ogma   is   called 


INTRODUCTION  1 1 

grianainech  ("sun-faced,"  or  shining-faced"),  perhaps  a  par- 
allel to  Lucian's  description  of  the  face  of  Ogmios.  The  head  of 
Ogmios  occurs  on  Gaulish  coins,  and  from  one  of  his  eyes  pro- 
ceeds a  ray  or  nail.  This  has  suggested  a  parallel  with  the 
Ulster  hero  Cuchulainn  in  his  "distortion,"  when  the  Ion  Idith 
(?  "champion's  light")  projected  from  his  forehead  thick  and 
long  as  a  man's  fist.  Another  curious  parallel  occurs  in  the 
Tain  Bo  Cualnge,  or  "Cattle-Spoil  of  Cualnge,"  where,  among 
the  Ulster  forces,  is  a  strong  man  with  seven  chains  on  his  neck, 
and  seven  men  dragged  along  at  the  end  of  each,  so  that  their 
noses  strike  the  ground,  whereupon  they  reproach  him.  Is  this 
a  distorted  reminiscence  of  the  myth  of  Ogmios .'' 

A  British  goddess  Sul,  equated  with  Minerva  at  Bath,  is  \ 
mentioned  by  Solinus  (third  century  a.  d.)  as  presiding  over 
warm  springs.  In  her  temple  perpetual  fires  burned  and  never 
grew  old,  for  where  the  fire  wasted  away  it  turned  into  shining 
globes. ^^  The  latter  statement  is  travellers'  gossip,  but  the  j 
"eternal  fires"  recall  the  sacred  fire  of  St.  Bxigit  at  Kjldare, 
tended  by  nineteen  nuns  in  turn,  a  day  at  a  time,  and  on  the 
twentieth  by  the  dead  saint  herself.  Thejfire  was  tabu  to 
males^jwho  must  not  even  breathe  on  it,^^  This  breath  tabu  in 
connexion  with  fire  is  found  among  Earsis,3rahmans,. Slavs, 
in  Japan»  and  formerly  in  Ri'igen.  The  saint  succeeded  to  the 
myth  on-xitualof  a  goddess,  theJLrisli  Brigit,  or  the^Brigindo 
or  B4iigantia  oLGaulish  and  BxLtish  inscriptions,  who  was  like- 
wise equated  with  Minerva> 

A  tabued  grove  near  Marseilles  is  mythically  described  by 
Lucan,  who  wrote  in  the  first  century  of  our  era,  and  doubtless 
his  account  Is  based  on  local  legends.  The  trees  of  the  grove 
were  stained  with  the  blood  of  sacrifices,  and  the  hollow  cav- 
erns were  heard  to  roar  at  the  movement  of  the  earth;  the 
yew  trees  bent  down  and  rose  again;  flames  burned  but  did  not 
consume  the  wood;  dragons  entwined  surrounded  the  oaks. 
Hence  people  were  afraid  to  approach  the  sacred  grove,  and 
the  priest  did  not  venture  within  its  precincts  at  midnight  or 


12  INTRODUCTION 

midday,  lest  the  god  should  appear  —  "the  destruction  that 
wasteth  at  noonday."  "  In  Galatia  Artemis  was  thought  to 
wander  with  demons  in  the  forest  at  midday,  tormenting  to 
death  those  whom  she  met;  while  Diana  in  Autun  was  re- 
garded as  a  midday  demon  who  haunted  cross-roads  and  for- 
ests. Whether  these  divinities  represent  a  Celtic  goddess  is 
uncertain,  and  their  fateful  midday  aspect  may  have  been 
suggested  by  the  "midday  demon"  of  the  Septuagint  version 
of  Psalm  xc.  6.   Both  accounts  occur  in  lives  of  saints. 

Several  references  suggest  that  the  gods  punished  the  taking 
of  things  dedicated  to  themselves,  and  therefore  tabu  to  men. 
Caesar  says  that  this  was  a  criminal  action  punished  by  torture 
and  death, ^^  and  Irish  myth  also  discloses  the  disastrous  results 
of  breach  of  tabu.  The  awe  of  the  priest  of  the  grove  is  par- 
alleled by  incidents  of  Celtic  history.  After  the  battle  of  AUia 
in  390  B.  c,  where  the  Celts  saw  divine  aid  in  the  flight  of  the 
Romans  and  stood  awestruck  before  it,  they  were  afraid  of  the 
night.^^  After  the  battle  of  Delphi  (279  b.  c.)  "madness  from 
a  god"  fell  on  them  at  night,  and  they  attacked  each  other,  no 
longer  recognizing  each  other's  speech. ^^  Another  fear  based 
on  a  myth  is  referred  to  in  Classical  sources,  that  of  the  future 

\  cataclysm.  The  Celts  did  not  dread  earthquakes  or  high  tides, 
which,  indeed,  they  attacked  with  weapons;  but  they  feared 
the  fall  of  the  sky  and  the  day  when  fire  and  water  must  pre- 

'  vail.  An  Irish  vow  perhaps  refers  to  this:  something  would  be 
done  if  the  sky  with  its  showers  of  stars  did  not  fall  or  the  earth 
burst  or  the  sea  submerge  the  world.  Any  untoward  event 
might  be  construed  as  the  coming  of  this  catastrophe  or  analo- 
gous to  it.  How,  then,  was  the  sky  meanwhile  supported  .f* 
Perhaps  on  mountain-peaks  like  that  near  the  source  of  the 
Rhone,  which  the  native  population  called  "the  column  of  the 
sun,"  and  which  was  so  lofty  that  it  hid  the  northern  sun  from 
the  southern  folk.^^  Gaidoz  says  that  "the  belief  that  the  earth 
rests  on  columns  is  the  sole  debris  of  ancient  cosmogony  of 
which  we  know  in  Irish  legends,  but  we  have  only  the  reflexion 


INTRODUCTION  13 

of  it  in  a  hymn  and  gloss  of  the  Liher  Hymnorum.  In  vaunting 
the  pre-eminence  of  two  saints  who  were  like  great  gods  of  old 
Christian  Ireland,  Ultan  says  of  Brigit  that  she  was  'half  of 
the  colonnade  of  the  kingdom  (of  the  world)  with  Patrick  the 
eminent.'  The  gloss  is  more  explicit  —  'as  there  are  two  pillars 
in  the  world,  so  are  Brigit  and  Patrick  in  Ireland.'"  ^^  In  some 
of  the  romantic  Irish  voyages  islands  are  seen  resting  on  pillars, 
and  an  echo  of  these  myths  is  found  in  the  Breton  tradition  that 
the  church  at  Kernitou  stands  on  four  columns,  resting  on  a 
congealed  sea  which  will  submerge  the  structure  when  it  be- 
comes liquid. ^° 

Divine  help  is  often  referred  to  in  Irish  myths,  and  a  parallel 
instance  occurs  in  Justin's  allusion  to  the  guidance  of  the 
Segovesi  by  birds  to  the  Danubian  regions  which  they  con- 
quered.^^ Such  myths  are  depicted  on  coins,  on  which  a  horse 
appears  led  by  a  bird,  which  sometimes  whispers  in  its  ear. 
Heroes  were  also  inspired  by  birds  to  found  towns.  Birds  were 
objects  of  worship  and  divination  with  the  Celts,  and  divinities 
transformed  themselves  into  the  shape  of  birds,  or  birds  formed 
their  symbols. 

The  birth  of  heroes  from  a  god  and  a  human  mother  occurs  in 
Irish  myth.  One  Classical  parallel  to  this  is  found  in  the  ac- 
count of  the  origin  of  the  northern  Gauls  given  by  Diodorus. 
They  were  descended  from  Hercules  and  the  beautiful  giant 
daughter  of  the  King  of  Celtica,  and  hence  they  were  taller  and 
handsomer  than  other  peoples. ^^  This  is  perhaps  the  Greek 
version  of  a  native  myth,  which  is  echoed  in  the  Irish  tale  of 
the  gigantic  daughter  of  the  king  of  Maidens'  Land  and  her 
love  for  Fionn.^^  Again,  when  Diodorus  speaks  of  Hercules  as- 
sembling his  followers,  advancing  into  Celtica,  improving  the 
laws,  and  founding  a  city  called  Alesia,  honoured  ever  since  by 
the  Celts  as  the  centre  of  their  kingdom,  he  is  probably  giving 
a  native  myth  in  terms  of  Greek  mythology.^^  Some  native 
god  or  hero  was  concerned,  and  his  story  fitted  that  of  Her- 
cules, who  became  popular  with  the  Celts. 


14  INTRODUCTION 

The  Celts  had  beliefs  resembling  those  of  the  Greeks  and 
Romans  about  incubi.  Demons  called  dusii  sought  the  couches 
of  women  out  of  lust,  a  belief  reported  by  sub-Classical  authors. 
The  Classical  evidence  for  Celtic  belief  in  divine  descent  is  also 
furnished  by  the  form  of  several  proper  names  which  have 
been  recorded,  while  lineage  from  a  river  or  river-god  is  as- 
sociated with  the  Belgic  Viridomar.^^ 

A  legend  reported  by  Pliny  concerns  some  natural  product, 
perhaps  a  fossil  echinus,  in  explanation  of  the  origin  of  which 
this  myth  was  current,  or  to  it  an  existing  serpent-myth  had 
been  attached.  Numerous  serpents  collected  on  a  day  in  sum- 
mer and,  intertwining,  formed  a  ball  with  the  foam  from  their 
bodies,  after  which  their  united  hissings  threw  it  into  the  air. 
According  to  the  Druids,  he  who  would  obtain  it  must  catch  it 
on  a  mantle  before  it  touched  the  ground  and  must  escape 
hastily,  putting  running  water  between  himself  and  the  pur- 
suing serpents.  The  ball  was  used  magically.^^ 
f  Classical  observers  cite  vaguely  some  myths  about  the  other- 
world  and  they  admired  profoundly  the  Celtic  belief  in  im- 
mortality, which,  if  Lucan's  words  are  correct,  was  that  of  the 
soul  animating  a  new  body  there.  Diodorus  also  affirms  this, 
though  he  compares  it  with  the  Pythagorean  doctrine  of  trans- 
migfaj;ion ; 2^  yet  in  the  same  passage  he  shows  that  thfe  dead 
passed  to  another  world  and  were  not_rebQni  on-earth.  Irish 
mythology  tells  us  nothing  about  the  world  of  the  dead,  though 
it  has  much  to  say  of  a  go^isUaJid  or  EJ^i^^ium,  to  which  the 
living  were  sometimes  invited  by  immortals.  This  Elysium 
was  in  distant  islands,  in  the  hollow  hills,  or  under  the  waters. 
Plutarch,  on  the  authority  of  Demetrius,  who  may  have  been  a 
Roman  functionary  in  Britain,  reports  that  round  Britain  are 
many  desert  islands,  named  after  gods  and  heroes.  Demetrius 
himself  visited  one  island  lying  nearest  these,  inhabited  by  a 
people  whom  the  Britons  regarded  as  sacred,  and  while  he  was 
there,  a  storm  arose  with  fiery  bolts  falling.  This  the  people 
explained  as  the  passing  away  of  one  of  the  mighty,  for  when  a 


PLATE   III 

Gaulish  Coins 

1.  Coin  of  the  Senones,  showing  on  one  side  two 
animals  opposed,  and  on  the  reverse  a  boar  and  a 
wolf  (?)  opposed  (cf.  Plates  II,  ii,  XXIV). 

2.  Gaulish  coin,  with  man-headed  horse  and  bird, 
and,  below,  a  bull  ensign  (cf.  Plates  II,  3-5,  9,  IX, 
B,  XIX,  I,  6,  XX,  B,  XXI). 

3.  Coin  of  the  Remi,  showing  squatting  divinity 
with  a  torque  in  the  right  hand  (cf.  Plates  VIII,  IX, 
XXV),  and  on  the  reverse  a  boar  and  S-symbol  or 
snake. 

4.  Armorican  coin,  with  horse  and  bird. 

5.  Coin  of  the  Camutes,  with  bull  and  bird. 

6.  Gaulish  coin  from  Greek  model,  with  boar. 

7.  Gaulish  coin  of  the  Senones,  with  animals 
opposed. 


INTRODUCTION  15 

great  soul  died,  the  atmosphere  was  affected  and  pestilences 
were  caused.  Demetrius  does  not  say  whither  the  soul  went, 
either  to  the  islands  or  elsewhere,  but  islands  named  after  gods 
and  heroes  suggest  the  Irish  divine  Elysium,  and  this  is  con- 
firmed by  what  Demetrius  adds,  and  by  what  Plutarch  reports 
in  another  work.  On  one  of  the  islands  Kronos  is  imprisoned, 
and  Briareos  keeps  guard  over  him,^^  along  with  many  deities 
{8aifiova(i)  who  are  his  attendants  and  servants.  What  Celtic 
divinities  or  heroes  lurk  under  these  names  is  unknown, 
but  the  myth  resembles  traditions  of  Ar-thur  in-AvalQn-(Ellyr 
slum),  or  of  ,Fio;Lii_Qr_Arthur  sleeping  in  a  liQllQW.hill,  waiting 
to  start  up  at  the  hour  of  their  country's  need.  Elsewhere 
Plutarch  speaks  of  an  island  in  which  the  barbarians  say  that 
Kiquos  is  imprisoned_by  Jupiter  in  a  cavern.  There  Kronos 
sleeps,  fed  by  birds  with  ambrosia,  while  his  son  lies  beside  him 
as  if  guarding  him.  The  surrounding  sea,  clogged  with  earth,  ap- 
pears to  be  solid,  and  people  go  to  the  island,  where  they  spend 
thirteen  years  waiting  on  the  god.  Many  remain,  because  there 
is  no  toil  or  trouble  there,  and  devote  their  time  to  sacrificing, 
singing  hymns,  or  studying  legends  and  philosophy.  The  cli- 
mate is  exquisite,  and  the  island  is  steeped  in  fragrance.  Some- 
times the  god  opposes  their  departure  by  appearing  to  them 
along  with  those  who  minister  to  him,  and  these  divine  min- 
istrants  themselves  prophesy  or  tell  things  which  have  been 
revealed  to  them  as  dreams  of  Saturn  when  they  visit  his 
cave.  Plutarch's  alleged  informant  had  waited  on  the  god  and 
studied  astrology  and  geometry,  and  before  going  to  another 
island  he  carried  with  him  golden  cups.^^  In  this  latter  story 
the  supposed  studies  and  ritual  of  the  Druids  are  mingled  with 
some  distorted  tradition  of  Elysium,  and  the  reference  to  cups 
of  gold  carried  from  the  island  perhaps  points  to  the  myth  of 
things  useful  to  man  brought  from  the  land  of  the  gods.^° 

The  sixth  century  Byzantine  historian  Procopius  has  a 
curious  story  about  the  island  of  "Brittia,"  which  was  divided 
by  a  wall  from  north  to  south.    West  of  the  wall  none  could 


i6  INTRODUCTION 

live,  so  foul  was  the  air,  so  many  the  vipers  and  evil  beasts; 
but  in  its  inhabited  part  dwelt  Angles,  Frisians,  and  Britons. 
The  island  lay  between  Britannia  and  Thule,  Thule  is  prob- 
ably Scandinavia;  Britannia,  which  is,  strictly  speaking, 
Britain,  is  confused  with  the  region  lying  between  Brittany 
and  the  mouths  of  the  Scheldt  and  Rhine.  Brittia  is  Britain; 
the  wall  is  the  Roman  Wall,  shown  on  Ptolemy's  map  running 
north  and  south  at  the  present  Scottish  border,  because  Scot- 
land was  represented  as  lying  at  right  angles  to  England.  The 
region  beyond  the  wall,  mountainous,  forest-clad,  and  inac- 
cessible, was  easily  conceived  as  a  sinister  place  by  those  who 
heard  of  it  only  vaguely.  Procopius  then  says  that  on  the  coast 
of  the  Continent  fishermen  and  farmers  are  exempt  from  taxa- 
tion because  it  is  their  duty  to  ferry  souls  over  to  Brittia,  doing 
this  in  turn.  At  midnight  they  hear  a  knocking  at  their  door 
and  muffled  voices  calling;  but  when  they  reach  the  shore,  they 
see  only  empty  boats,  not  their  own.  In  these  they  set  out  and 
presently  perceive  that  the  boats  have  become  laden,  the  gun- 
wale being  close  to  the  water;  and  within  an  hour  Brittia  is 
reached,  though  ordinarily  it  would  take  a  day  and  a  night  to 
cross  the  sea.  There  the  boats  are  invisibly  unladen,  and  al- 
though no  one  has  been  seen,  a  loud  voice  is  heard  asking 
each  soul  his  name  and  country.^^  The  Roman  poet  Claudian, 
writing  toward  the  close  of  the  fourth  and  the  beginning  of  the 
fifth  century  of  our  era,  had  perhaps  heard  such  a  story,  though 
he  confuses  it  with  that  of  Odysseus  and  the  shades. ^^  At  the 
extremity  of  the  Gaulish  coast  is  a  place  protected  from  the 
tides,  where  Odysseus  by  sacrifice  called  up  the  shades.  There 
is  heard  the  murmur  of  their  complaint,  and  the  inhabitants 
see  pale  phantoms  and  dead  forms  flitting  about.^^  This 
strictly  concerns  the  Homeric  shades,  for  Classical  testimony 
to  the  Celtic  other-world,  as  well  as  Irish  stories  of  the  return 
of  the  dead,  never  suggests  "pale  phantoms."  Claudian  may 
have  heard  some  story  like  that  of  Procopius,  though  it  is  by 
no  means  certain  that  the  latter  is  reporting  a  Celtic  belief 


INTRODUCTION  17 

for  other  peoples  than  the  Celts  dwelt  in  his  time  opposite 
Britain.  Possibly,  however,  the  Celts  believed  that  the  dead 
went  to  distant  islands.  Even  now  the  Bretons  speak  of  the 
"Bay  of  Souls"  at  Raz,  at  the  extreme  point  of  Armorica,  while 
folk-lore  tells  how  the  drowned  are  nightly  conveyed  by  boat 
from  Cape  Raz  to  the  isle  of  Tevennec.^*  If  the  Celtic  dead 
went  to  an  island,  this  may  explain  the  title  said  by  Pliny, 
quoting  Philemon  (second  century  b.  c),  to  have  been  given 
by  the  Cimbri  to  the  northern  sea,  Morimarusam  =  Mortuum 
Mare  or  possibly  Mortuorum  Mare  (*'  Sea  of  the  Dead")  —  the 
sea  which  the  dead  crossed.  The  title  may  refer,  however,  to  an 
unchangeably  calm  sea,  and  such  a  sea  has  always  been  feared, 
or  to  the  ice-covered  sea,  which  Strabo  ^^  regarded  as  an  im- 
passable spongy  mixture  of  earth,  water,  and  air.  The  sup-j 
posed  Celtic  belief  in  an  island  of  the  dead  might  also  explain] 
why,  according  to  PHny,  no  animal  or  man  beside  the  Gallicj 
ocean  dies  with  a  rising  tide  ^^  —  a  belief  still  current  in  BritJ 
tany;  the  dead  could  be  carried  away  only  by  an  outflowing 
tide.  But  whether  or  not  the  Celts  believed  in  such  an  island, 
it  is  certain  that  no  Irish  story  of  the  island  Elysium  connects 
that  with  them,  but  associates  it  only  with  divine  beings  and 
favoured  mortals  who  were  lured  thither  in  their  lifetime. 

In  Wales  and  Ireland,  where  Roman  civilization  was  un- 
known, mythology  had  a  better  chance  of  survival.  Yet  here, 
as  in  Gaul,  it  was  forced  to  contend  with  triumphant  Chris- 
tianity, which  was  generally  hostile  to  paganism.  Still,  curi- 
ously enough,  Christian  verity  was  less  destructive  of  Celtic 
myths  than  was  Roman  civilization,  unless  the  Insular  Celts 
were  more  tenacious  of  myth  than  their  Continental  cousins. 
Sooner  or  later  the  surviving  myths,  more  often  fragments  than 
finished  entities,  were  written  down;  the  bards  and  the  filid 
(learned  poets)  took  pride  in  preserving  the  glories  of  their 
race;  and  even  learned  Christian  monks  must  have  assisted  in 
keeping  the  old  stories  alive.  Three  factors,  however,  played 
their  part  in  corrupting  and  disintegrating  the  myths.    The 


1 8  INTRODUCTION 

first  of  these  was  the  dislike  of  Christianity  to  transmit  what- 
ever directly  preserved  the  memory  of  the  old  divinities.  In 
the  surviving  stories  their  divinity  is  not  too  closely  descried; 
they  are  made  as  human  as  possible,  though  they  are  still  super- 
human in  power  and  deed;  they  are  tolerated  as  a  kind  of 
fairy-folk  rather  than  as  gods.  Yet  they  are  more  than  fairies 
and  they  have  none  of  the  wretchedness  of  the  decrepit,  skin- 
clad  Zeus  of  Heine's  Gods  in  Exile.  Side  by  side  with  this  there 
was  another  tendency,  natural  to  a  people  who  no  longer  wor- 
shipped gods  whose  names  were  still  more  or  less  familiar. 
They  were  regarded  as  kings  and  chiefs  and  were  brought  into 
a  genealogical  scheme,  while  some  myths  were  reduced  to 
annals  of  supposititious  events.  Myth  was  transmuted  into 
pseudo-history.  This  euhemerizing  ^^  process  is  found  in  all 
decaying  mythologies,  but  it  is  outstanding  in  that  of  the 
ancient  Irish.  The  third  factor  is  the  attempt  of  Christian 
scribes  to  connect  the  mythical  past  and  its  characters  with 
persons  and  events  of  early  Scriptural  history. 

These  factors  have  obscured  Irish  divine  legends,  though 
enough  remains  to  show  how  rich  and  beautiful  the  mythology 
had  been.  In  the  two  heroic  cycles  —  those  of  Cuchulainn 
and  Fionn  respectively  —  the  disturbance  has  been  less,  and 
in  these  the  Celtic  magic  and  glamour  are  found.  Some  stories 
of  the  gods  escaped  these  destructive  factors,  and  in  them  these 
delectable  traits  are  also  apparent.  They  are  romantic  tales 
rather  than  myths,  though  their  mythical  quality  is  obvious. 

Two  mythical  strata  exist,  one  older  and  purely  pagan,  in 
which  gods  are  immortal,  though  myth  may  occasionally  have 
spoken  of  their  death;  the  other  influenced  by  the  annahstic 
scheme  and  also  by  Christianity,  in  which,  though  the  unlike- 
ness  of  the  gods  to  humankind  is  emphasized,  yet  they  may  be 
overcome  and  killed  by  men.  The  literary  class  who  rewrote 
the  myths  had  less  simple  Ideals  than  even  the  Greek  mythog- 
raphers.  They  imagined  some  moving  situations  and  majestic 
episodes  or  borrowed  these  from  the  old  myths,  but  they  had 


INTRODUCTION  19 

little  sense  of  proportion  and  were  infected  by  a  vicious  rhetori- 
cal verbosity  and  exaggeration.  Many  tales  revel  monoto- 
nously in  war  and  bloodshed,  and  the  characters  are  spoiled  by 
excessive  boastfulness.  Yet  in  this  later  stratum  the  mytho- 
poeic  faculty  is  still  at  work,  inasmuch  as  tales  were  written  in 
which  heroes  were  brought  into  relation  with  the  old  divinities. 

The  main  sources  for  the  study  of  Irish  mythology  are  the 
documents  contained  in  such  great  manuscripts  as  the  Book 
of  Leinster  and  the  Book  of  the  Dun  Cow  (Leabhar  na  hUidhre),^^ 
written  in  the  eleventh  and  twelfth  centuries,  but  based  on 
materials  of  older  date.  Later  manuscripts  also  contain  im- 
portant stories.  Floating  tales  and  traditions,  fairy-  and  folk- 
lore, are  also  valuable,  and  much  of  this  material  has  now  been 
published. ^^ 

Among  the  British  Celts,  or  those  of  them  who  escaped  the 
influence  of  Roman  civilization,  the  mythological  remains  are 
far  less  copious.  Here,  too,  the  euhemerizing  process  has  been  at 
work,  but  much  more  has  the  element  of  romance  affected  the 
old  myths.  They  have  become  romantic  tales  arranged,  as  in 
the  Mabinogion,  in  definite  groups,  and  the  dramatis  personae 
are  the  ancient  gods,  though  it  is  difficult  to  say  whether  the 
incidents  are  myths  transformed  or  are  fresh  romantic  inven- 
tions of  a  mythic  kind.  Still,  the  Welsh  Mabinogion  is  of  great 
importance,  as  well  as  some  parts  of  Arthurian  romance,  the  / 
poems  about  Taliesin,  and  other  fragments  of  Welsh  literature. 
The  euhemerizing  process  is  still  more  evident  in  those  portions 
of  Geofi'rey  of  Monmouth's  History  which  tell  of  the  names  and 
deeds  of  kings  who  were  once  gods. 

Thus  if  materials  for  Irish  and  British  mythology  are  copious, 
they  must  be  used  with  caution,  for  we  cannot  be  certain  that 
any  one  story,  however  old,  ever  existed  as  such  in  the  form  of 
a  pagan  myth.  As  the  mountain-peaks  of  Ireland  or  Wales  or 
the  Western  Isles  are  often  seen  dimly  through  an  enshrouding 
mist,  which  now  is  dispersed  in  torn  wisps,  and  now  gathers 
again,  lending  a  more  fantastic  appearance  to  the  shattered 


20  INTRODUCTION 

crags,  so  the  gods  and  their  doings  are  half-recorded  and  half- 
hidden  behind  the  mists  of  time  and  false  history  and  romance. 
Clear  glimpses  through  this  Celtic  mist  are  rare.  This  is  not  to 
be  wondered  at  when  we  consider  how  much  of  the  mythology 
has  been  long  forgotten,  and  how  many  hands  have  worked 
upon  the  remainder.  The  stories  are  relics  of  a  dead  past,  as 
defaced  and  inexplicable  as  the  battered  monuments  of  the  old 
religion.  Romancers,  would-be  historians.  Christian  opponents 
of  paganism,  biographers  of  saints,  ignorant  yet  half-believing 
folk,  have  worked  their  will  with  them.  Folk-tale  incidents 
have  been  wrought  into  the  fabric,  perhaps  were  originally 
part  of  it.  Gods  figure  as  kings,  heroes,  saints,  or  fairies,  and  a 
new  mythical  past  has  been  created  out  of  the  debris  of  an  older 
mythology.  There  is  little  of  the  limpid  clearness  of  the  myths 
of  Hellas,  and  yet  enough  to  delight  those  who,  in  our  turbulent 
modern  life,  turn  a  wistful  eye  upon  the  past. 

To  make  matters  worse,  modern  writers  on  Celtic  tradition 
have  displayed  a  twofold  tendency.  They  have  resolved  every 
story  into  myths  of  sun,  dawn,  and  darkness,  every  divinity  or 
hero  into  a  sun-god  or  dawn-goddess  or  ruler  of  a  dark  world. 
Or  those  with  a  touch  of  mysticism  see  traces  of  an  esoteric 
faith,  of  mysteries  performed  among  the  initiate.  In  mediaeval 
Wales  the  "Druidic  legend"  —  the  idea  of  an  esoteric  wisdom 
transmitted  from  old  priests  and  philosophers  —  formed  itself 
among  hajf-crazyj£sthusiasts  and  has  been  revived  in  our  own 
time  by  persons  of  a  simlUx  g^nwj".  Ireland  and  the  West  High- 
lands have  always  been  remarkably  free  of  this  XLonsense, 
though  som£_Celts  with  a  turn  for  agreeing  with  their  interlocu- 
tor seem  to  have  persuaded  at  least  one  mystic  that  he  was  on 
the  track  of  esoteric  beliefs  and  ritual  there.^°  He  did  not  know 
his  Celt!  The  truth  is  that  the  mediaeval  and  later  Welsh 
Druidists  were  themselves  in  the  mythopoeic  stage  —  crude 
Blakes  or  Swedenborgs  —  and  invented  stories  of  the  creed  of 
the  old  Druids  which  had  no  place  in  it  and  are  lacking  in  any 
document  of  genuine  antiquity,  Welsh  or  Irish.     This  is  true 


PLATE   IV 

God  with  the  Wheel 

This  deity,  who  carries  S-symbols  as  well  as  the 
wheel,  was  probably  a  solar  divinity  (see  p.  8;  for 
the  wheel  as  a  symbol  cf.  Plate  II,  i,  3,  and  for  the 
S-symbol  Plates  II,  2,  4,  7-9,  11,  III,  3,  XIX,  2-5). 
The  statue  was  found  at  Chatelet,  Haute-Marne, 
France. 


INTRODUCTION  21 

also  of  the  modern  "mythological"  school.  Not  satisfied  with 
the  beautiful  or  wild  stories  as  they  stand,  they  must  mytholo- 
gize  them  still  further.  Hence  they  have  invented  a  pretty  but 
ineffectual  mythology  of  their  own,  which  they  foist  upon  our 
Celtic  forefathers,  who  would  have  been  mightily  surprised  to 
hear  of  it.  The  Celts  had  clearly  defined  divinities  of  war,  of 
agriculture,  of  the  chase,  of  poetry,  of  the  other-world,  and  they 
told  romantic  myths  about  them.  But  they  did  not  make  all 
their  goddesses  dawn-maidens,  or  transform  every  hero  into  a 
sun-god,  or  his  twelve  battles  into  the  months  of  the  solar  year. 
Nor  is  it  likely  that  they  had  mystic  theories  of  rebirth,  if  that 
was  a  wide-spread  Celtic  belief;  and  existing  examples  of  it 
always  concern  gods  and  heroes,  not  mere  mortals.  They  are 
straightforward  enough  and  show  no  esoteric  mystic  origin  or 
tendency,  any  more  than  do  similar  myths  among  savages,  nor 
do  they  set  forth  philosophic  theories  of  retribution,  such  as  were 
evolved  by  Pythagorean  and  Indian  philosophy.  Modern  inves- 
tigators, themselves  in  the  mythopoeic  stage,  easily  reflect  back 
their  ideas  upon  old  Celtic  tales.  Just  as  little  had  the  Celts  an 
esoteric  monotheism  or  a  secret  mystery-cult;  and  such  genu- 
ine notices  of  their  ancient  religion  or  its  priests  as  have  reached 
us  know  nothing  of  these  things,  which  have  been  assumed  to 
exist  by  enthusiasts  during  the  last  two  centuries. 


CELTIC    MYTHOLOGY 

CHAPTER  I 
THE  STRIFE  OF  THE  GODS 

THE  annalistic  account  of  the  groups  of  people  who  succes- 
sively came  to  Ireland,  some  to  perish  utterly,  others  to  re- 
main as  colonists,  represents  the  unscientific  historian's  attempt 
to  explain  the  diflFerent  races  existing  there  in  his  time,  or  of 
whom  tradition  spoke.  He  wrote,  too,  with  an  eye  upon  Biblical 
story,  and  connected  the  descendants  of  the  patriarchs  with  the 
folk  of  Ireland.  Three  different  groups  of  Noah's  lineage  arrived 
in  successive  waves.  The  first  of  these,  headed  by  Noah's  grand- 
daughter, Cessair,  perished,  with  the  exception  of  her  husband. 
Then  came  the  Fomorians,  descendants  of  Ham;  and  finally 
the  Nemedians,  also  of  the  stock  of  Noah,  arrived.  According 
to  one  tradition,  they,  like  Cessair's  people  and  another  group 
unconnected  with  Noah  —  the  race  of  Partholan  (Bartholo- 
mew) —  died  to  a  man,  although  another  legend  says  that  they 
returned  to  Spain,  whence  they  had  come.  Spain  figures 
frequ_eiitly-in  these  annalistic  stories,  and  a^cJo,5e._connexion  be- 
tween,it-and Ireland  is  takeji,for  granted.  This  may  be  a  remi- 
niscence of  a  link  by  way  of  trade  between  the  two  countries  in 
prehistoric  days,  of  which,  indeed,  arcjiaeology  pj:es£nts-&ome 
proof — Possibly,  tjDO,  early  Celtic  colonists  reached  Ireland  di- 
rectly frorn  Spain,  rather  than  through  Gaul  and  Britain. 
Still  another  tradition  makes  Nemedian  survivors  wander  over 
the  world,  some  of  their  descendants  becoming  the  Britons, 
while  others  returned  to  Ireland  as  a  new  colonizing  group  — 
Firbolgs,  Fir-Domnann,  and  Galioin.    A  thij-d  group  nf  tlipir 

descendants  who  had  learned  magic  came  to  Ireland  —  the 
III— 3 


24  CELTIC  MYTHOLOGY 

Ti^atjiaJQpJ) a n ?i ]rn  Finally  the  MiLesLaxLS^, the  ancestors  of 
the  Irish,  arrived  and  conquered  the  T.uatha-Iie  Danann,  as 
the^  had  defeated  theJEjomomiis.^ 

Little  of  this  is  actual  history,  but  how  much  of  it  is  invention, 
and  how  much  is  based  on  mythic  traditions  floating  down  from 
the  past,  is  uncertain.  What  is  certain  is  that  the  annalists, 
partly  as  a  result  of  the  euhemerizing  process,  partly  through 
misunderstanding,  mingled  groups  of  gods  with  tribes  or  races 
of  men  and  regarded  them  as  more  or  less  human.  These 
various  traditions  are  introductory  to  the  story  of  the  two 
battles  of  Mag-Tured,  enlarged  from  an  earlier  tale  of  a  single 
conflict.  An  interval  of  twenty-seven  years  elapsed  between  the 
twojiialiles,  and  they  were  fought  in  diflferent  parts  of  Ireland 
bearing  the  same  name,  one  in  Mayo  and  the  other  in  ^Hgo,  the 
first  battle  being  fought  against  the  Firbolgs,  and  the  second 
against  the  Fomarians..,by  the  Tuatha  De  Danann. 

Having  reached  Ireland,  the  Tuatha  De  Danann  established 
themselves  at  Mag-Rein  in  Connaught.  The  Firbolgs  sent  a 
huge  warrior,  Sreng,  to  parley  with  them,  and  to  him  ap- 
proached Bres,  son  of  Elatha,  of  the  TuaiJia.D£_Danann.  The 
warriors  gazed  long  upon  each  other;  then  they  mutually  ad- 
v  mired  their  weapons,  and  finally  exchanged  them,  Bres  receiv- 
\  ing  the  heavy,  broad-pointed  spears  of  the  Firbolg,  and  Sreng 
the  light,  sharp-pointed  lances  of  Bres.  The  demand  of  the  in- 
vaders was  surrender  of  the  half  of  Ireland,  but  to  this  the  Fir- 
Ibolgs  would  not  agree.  Meanwhile  the  T«atha-De-Daimnn, 
Iterrified  at  the  heavy  Firbolg  spears,  retreated  to  Mag-Tured, 
VBadb,  Morrigan,  and  Macha,  three  of  their  women,  producing 
frogs,  rain  of  fire,  and  streams  of  blood  against  the  Firbolgs. 
By  mutual  agreement  an  armistice  was  arranged  for  prepara- 
tion, and  some  from  each  side  even  engaged  in  a  hurling  match. 
Such  were  the  tactics  of  the  time!  Each  party  prepared  a  heal- 
ing well  for  the  wounded,  in  which  medicinal  herbs  were  placed. 
Dagda  led  the  forces  on  the  first  day,  when  the  Tuatha  De 
Danann  were  defeated;    but  under  the  command  of  Ogma, 


THE   STRIFE  OF  THE   GODS  25 

Midir,  Bodb  Dearg,  Diancecht,  Aengaba  of  Norway,  Badb, 
Macha,  Morrigan,  and  Danann,  they  were  successful  on  the 
second  day.  On  the  third  day  Dagda  again  led,  "for  in  me  you  \ 
have  an  excellent  god";  on  the  fourth  day  badba,  bledlochtana, 
and  amaite  aidgill  ("furies,"  "monsters,"  "hags  of  doom") 
cried  aloud,  and  their  voices  resounded  in  the  rocks,  waterfalls, 
and  hollows  of  the  earth.  Sreng  severed  the  arm  of  Nuada, 
king  of  the  Xuatha  D£J3anann;  Bres  was  slain  by  Eochaid, 
who,  overpowered  by  thirst,  sought  water  throughout  Ireland, 
but  the  y^\-z^.Y<\^  of  the  Til  at  hri  De-J^anann  hid  all  streams  from 
him,  and  he  was  slain.  The  Firbolgs,  reduced  to  three  hundred, 
were  still  prepared  to  fight,  but  when  the  Tuatha  De  Danann 
offered  them  peace  and  the  province  of  Connaught,  this  was 
accepted.^ 

As  we  shall  see,  the  Tlialiia^D^  Danann  were_gods,  and  their 
strife  against  the  Firbolgs,  a  nan=CeItic_giQup,  is  probably 
based  on  a  tradition  of  war  between  incorriingjCdla_and  abari- 
g^es-  Meanwhile  the  JCiiatJia  De  Danann  made  alliance  with 
the  Famoiians.  Ethne,  daughter  of  Balor,  married  Cian,  son 
of  Diancecht,  her  son  being  the  famous  Lug.  Nuada's  mutila- 
tion prevented  his  continuing  as  King,  for  no  maimed  person 
could  reign;  and  the  women  insisted  that  the  Fomorian  Bres, 
their  adopted  son,  should  receive  the  throne,  since  he  was  son 
of  Elatha,  the  Fomorian  King.  Eri,  sister  of  Elatha,  was 
counted  of  the  Tu.atJia.=D£~-9iaaarH-n,  perhaps  because  their 
mother  was  also  of  them,  an  instance  of  succession  through  the 
female  line;  and  this  would  account  for  Bres  becoming  King, 
though  these  genealogies  are  doubtless  inventions  of  the  annal- 
ists. Bres  was  son  of  Elatha  and  Eri.  Such  unions  of  brother 
and  sister  (or  half-sister)  are  common  in  mythology  and  were 
not  unknown  in  royal  houses,  e.  g.  in  Egypt  and  Peru,  as  a 
means  of  keeping  the  dynasty  pure.  One  day  Eri  saw  a  silver 
boat  approaching.  A  noble  warrior  with  golden  locks  stepped 
ashore,  clad  in  an  embroidered  mantle  and  wearing  a  jewelled 
golden  brooch,  and  five  golden  torques  round  his  neck.     He 


26  CELTIC  MYTHOLOGY 

carried  two  silvery  pointed  spears  with  bronze  shafts,  and  a 
golden-hilted  sword  inlaid  with  silver.  Eri  was  so  overcome  by 
his  appearance  that  she  easily  surrendered  to  him  and  wept 
bitterly  when  he  rose  to  leave  her.  Then  he  drew  from  his 
finger  a  golden  ring  and  bade  her  not  part  with  it  save  to  one 
whose  finger  it  should  fit.  Elatha  was  his  name,  and  she  would 
bear  a  son  Eochaid  Bres,  or  '  the  Beautiful."  At  seven  years 
old  Bres  was  as  a  boy  of  fourteen.^ 

Bres  was  miserly  and  caused  much  murmuring  among  the 
Tualha  De  Danann.  "Their  knives  were  not  greased  by  him; 
and  however  often  they  visited  him  their  breaths  did  not  smell 
of  ale."  No  poets,  bards,  or  musicians  were  in  his  household, 
and  no  champions  proved  their  prowess,  save  Ogma,  who  had 
the  slavish  daily  task  of  carrying  a  load  of  fuel,  two-thirds  of 
which  were  swept  from  him  by  the  sea,  because  he  was  weak 
through  hunger."*  Bres  claimed  the  milk  of  all  brown,  hairless 
cows,  and  when  these  proved  to  be  few  in  number,  he  caused 
the  kine  of  Munster  to  pass  through  a  fire  of  bracken  so  that 
they  might  become  hairless  and  brown,^  this  tale  being  possibly 
connected  with  the  ritual  passing  of  cattle  through  fires  ^t  Pel- 
tane  (MayT)ay).  Another  version  of  the  tale,  however,  makes 
it  less  pleasant  for  Bres.  He  demanded  a  hundred  men's  drink 
from  the  milk  of  a  hornless  dun  cow  or  a  cow  of  some  other 
colour  from  every  house  in  Ireland;  but  by  the  advice  of  Lug 
and  Findgoll,  Nechtan,  King  of  Munster,  singed  the  kine  in  a 
fire  of  fern  and  smeared  them  with  a  porridge  of  flax-seed. 
Three  hundred  wooden  cows  with  dark  brown  pails  in  lieu  of 
udders  were  made,  and  the  pails  were  dipped  in  black  bog- 
stuff.  When  Bres  inspected  them,  the  bog-stuff  was  squeezed 
out  like  milk;  but  since  he  was  under  gets,  or  tabu,  to  drink 
whatever  was  milked,  the  result  of  his  swallowing  so  much  bog- 
stuff  was  a  gradual  wasting  away,  until  he  died  when  traversing 
Ireland  to  seek  a  cure.  Stokes  conjectures  that  Bres  required 
the  milk  of  one-coloured  cows  as  a  means  of  removing  his  wife's 
barrenness.^ 


THE   STRIFE   OF  THE   GODS  27 

Another  account  of  Bres's  death  tells  how  Corpre  the  poet 
came  to  his  house.  It  was  narrow,  dark,  and  fireless,  and  for 
food  the  guest  received  only  three  small  unbuttered  cakes. 
Next  morning,  filled  with  a  poet's  scorn,  he  chanted  a  satire: 

"Without  food  quickly  on  a  dish, 
Without  a  cow's  milk  whereon  a  calf  grows. 
Without  a  man's  abode  under  the  gloom  of  night, 
Without  paying  a  company  of  story-tellers, 
Let  that  be  the  condition  of  Bres." 

This  was  the  first  satire  made  in  Ireland,  but  it  had  all  the 
effect  which  later  belief  attributed  to  satire,  and  Bres  declined 
from  that  hour.  Surrendering  his  sovereignty  and  going  to  his 
mother,  he  asked  whence  was  his  origin;  and  when  she  tried 
the  ring  on  his  finger,  she  found  that  it  fitted  him.  Bres  and  she 
then  went  to  the  Fomorians'  land,  where]  his  father  recognized 
the  ring  and  upbraided  Bres  for  leaving  the  kingdom.  Bres 
acknowledged  the  injustice  of  his  rule,  but  asked  his  father's 
help,  whereupon  Elatha  sent  him  to  Balor,  grandson  of  Net, 
the  Fomorian  war-god,  and  to  Indech,  who  assembled  a  huge 
force  in  order  to  impose  their  rule  on  the  Tuatha  De  Danann.^ 
Some  curious  incidents  may  be  mentioned  here.  While  Bres 
ruled,  the  Fomorian  Kings,  Indech,  Elatha,  and  TethYa,  bound 
tribute  on  Ireland  and  reduced  some  of  the  Tuatha  De  Danann 
to  servitude.  The  Fomorians  had  formerly  exa.cted  tribute  of 
the  Nemedians,  and  it  was  collected  by  one  of  their  women  in 
an  iron  vessel  —  fifty  fills  of  corn  and  milk,  of  butter,  and  of 
flour.  This  may  be  a  memory  of  sacrifice.  Ogma  had  to  carry 
fuel,  and  even  Dagda  was  obliged  to  become  a  builder  of  raths, 
or  forts.  In  the  house  where  he  lived  was  a  lampooner  named 
Cridenbel  who  demanded  from  him  the  three  best  bits  of  his 
ration,  and  thus  Dagda's  health  suffered;  but  Oengus,  Dagda's 
son,  hearing  of  this',  gave  him  three  gold  coins  to  put  into  Cri- 
denbel's  portion.  These  would  cause  his  death,  and  Bres  would 
be  told  that  Dagda  had  poisoned  him.  Then  he  must  tell  the 
story  to  Bres,  who  would  cause  the  lampooner's  stomach  to  be 


28  CELTIC  MYTHOI.OGY 

opened;  and  if  the  gold  were  not  found  there,  Dagda  would 
have  to  die.  In  the  sequel  Oengus  advised  Dagda  to  ask  as 
reward  for  his  rath-hu'Admg  only  a  black-maned  heifer;  and 
although  this  seemed  weakness  to  Bres,  the  astuteness  of  Oen- 
gus was  seen  when,  after  the  second  battle,  the  heifer's  lowing 
brought  to  Dagda  the  cattle  exacted  by  the  Fomorians.^ 

This  mythical  story  of  Bres's  sovereignty,  and  of  the  servi- 
tude of  beings  who  are  gods,  is  probably  parallel  to  other  myths 
of  the  temporary  eclipse  of  deities,  as  when  the  Babylonian 
high  gods  were  afraid  of  Tiamat  and  her  brood,  or  cowered  in 
terror  before  the  flood.  It  may  also  represent  an  old  nature 
dualism  —  the  apparent  paralysis  of  gods  of  sunshine  and 
fruitfulness  in  the  death  and  cold  of  winter;  or  it  may  hint  at 
some  temporary  defeat  of  Celtic  invaders,  which  even  their 
gods  seemed  to  share.  Whatever  the  Fomorians  be,  their  final 
defeat  was  at  hand.  » 

When  Bres  retired,  Nuada  was  again  made  King  because  his 
hand  was  restored.  Diancecht  (a  divinity  of  leechcraft),  as- 
sisted by  Creidne,  god  of  smith-work,  made  for  him  a  silver 
hand,  but  Miach,  Diancecht's  son,  not  content  with  this,  ob- 
tained the  mutilated  hand  and  by  means  of  such  a  spell  as  is 
common  to  many  races  —  "joint  to  joint,  sinew  to  sinew"  — 
he  set  it  to  the  stump,  caused  skin  to  grow,  and  restored  the 
hand.  In  another  version  he  made  a  new  arm  with  a  swine- 
herd's arm-bone.^  Through  envy  Diancecht  struck  Miach 
four  blows,  three  of  which  Miach  healed,  but  the  fourth  was 
fatal.  His  father  buried  him,  and  from  his  grave  sprang  as 
many  herbs  as  he  had  joints  and  sinews.  Airmed,  his  sister, 
separated  them  according  to  their  properties,  but  Diancecht 
confused  them  so  that  none  might  know  their  right  values.^** 
These  incidents  reflect  beliefs  about  magico-medical  skill,  and 
the  last  may  be  a  myth  of  divine  jealousy  at  man's  obtaining 
knowledge.  Nuada  now  made  a  feast  for  the  gods,  and  as  they 
banqueted,  a  warrior,  coming  to  the  portal,  bade  the  door- 
keepers announce  him  as  Lug,  son  of  Cian,  son  of  Diancecht, 


THE   STRIFE   OF  THE   GODS  29 

and  of  Ethne,  Balor's  daughter.  He  was  also  known  as  samil- 
ddnach  ("possessing  many  arts"),  and  when  asked  rwhat  he 
practised,  he  answered  that  he  was  a  carpenter,  only  to  hear 
the  door-keeper  reply,  "Already  we  have  a  carpenter."  In 
succession  he  declared  himself  smith,  champion,  harper,  hero, 
poet,  magician,  leech,  cup-bearer,  and  brazier,  but  the  Tuatha 
De  Danann  possessed  each  one  of  these.  Lug,  however,  be- 
cause he  knew  all  these  arts,  gained  entrance  and  among  other 
feats  played  the  three  magic  harp-strains  so  often  referred  to 
in  Irish  texts  —  sleep-strain,  wail-strain,  and  laughter-strain, 
which  in  turn  caused  slumber,  mourning,  and  joy.^^ 

In  another  version  of  Lug's  coming,  from  The  Children  of 
Tuirenn  {Aided  Chlainne  Tuirenn),  as  he  approached,  "like  the 
setting  sun  was  the  splendour  of  his  countenance,"  and  none 
could  gaze  on  it.  His  army  was  the  fairy  cavalcade  from  the 
Land  of  Promise,^  and  with  them  were  his  foster-brothers, 
Manannan's  sons.  Lug  rode  Manannan's  steed,  Enbarr, 
fleet  as  the  spring  wind,  and  on  whose  back  no  rider  could 
be  killed;  he  wore  Manannan's  lorica  which  preserved  from 
wounds,  his  breastplate  which  no  weapon  could  pierce,  and  his 
sword,  the  wound  of  which  none  survived,  while  the  strength 
of  all  who  faced  it  became  weakness.  When  the  Fomorians  came 
for  tribute,  Lug  killed  some  of  them,  whereupon  Balor's  wife, 
Cethlionn,  told  him  that  this  was  their  grandson  and  that  it 
had  been  prophesied  that  when  he  arrived,  the  power  of  the 
Fomorians  would  depart.  As  Lug  went  to  meet  the  Fomo- 
rians, Bres  was  surprised  that  the  sun  seemed  rising  in  the  west, 
but  his  Druids  said  that  this  was  the  radiance  from  the  face  of 
Lug,  who  cast  a  spell  on  the  cattle  taken  for  tribute,  so  that  they 
returned  to  the  Tuatha  De  Danann.  When  his  fairy  cavalcade 
arrived,  Bres  begged  his  life  on  condition  of  bringing  over  the 
Fomorians,  while  he  offered  sun,  moon,  sea,  and  land  as  guar- 
antees that  he  would  not  again  fight;  and  to  this  Lug  agreed. 
The  guarantee  points  to  an  animistic  view  of  nature,  for  it 
means  that  sun,  etc.,  would  punish  Bres  if  he  was  unfaithful. ^^ 


30  CELTIC  MYTHOLOGY 

To  return  to  the  other  account,  Nuada  gave  Lug  his  throne, 
and  for  a  year  the  gods  remained  in  council,  consulting  the  wiz- 
ards, leeches,  and  smiths.  Mathgen  the  wizard  announced 
that  the  mountains  would  aid  them  and  that  he  would  cast 
them  on  the  Fomorians;  the  cup-bearer  said  that  through  his 
power  the  Fomorians  would  find  no  water  in  lough  or  river; 
Figol  the  Druid  promised  to  rain  showers  of  fire  on  the  foe  and 
to  remove  from  them  two-thirds  of  their  might,  while  increase 
of  strength  would  come  to  the  Tuatha  De  Danann,  who  would 
not  be  weary  if  they  fought  seven  years;  Dagda  said  that  he 
would  do  more  than  all  the  others  together.  For  seven  years 
weapons  were  prepared  under  the  charge  of  Lug.^'* 

At  this  point  comes  the  episode  of  Dagda's  assignation  with 
the  war-goddess  Morrigan,  who  was  washing  in  a  river,  one 
foot  at  Echumech  in  the  north,  the  other  at  Loscuinn  in  the 
south.  This  enormous  size  is  a  token  of  divinity  in  Celtic 
myths,  and  the  place  where  Dagda  and  Morrigan  met  was  now 
known  as  "the  couple's  bed."  She  bade  him  summon  the  men 
of  knowledge  and  to  them  she  gave  two  handfuls  of  the  blood 
of  Indech's  heart,  of  which  she  had  deprived  him,  as  well  as 
valour  from  his  kidneys.  These  men  now  chanted  spells 
against  the  Fomorians  —  a  practice  invariably  preceding 
battle  among  the  Celts. ^^ 

Another  incident  shows  that  the  Celts,  like  other  races,  could 
recount  irreverent  stories  about  their  gods.  Dagda  had  been 
sent  to  spy  out  the  Fomorians'  camp  and  to  ask  a  truce.  Much 
porridge  was  made  for  him,  boiled  with  goats,  sheep,  and 
swine,  and  the  mess  being  poured  into  a  hole  in  the  ground,  he 
was  bidden  to  eat  it  under  pain  of  death.  Taking  a  ladle  big 
enough  for  a  man  and  woman  to  lie  in,  he  began  his  meal  and 
ate  it  all,  after  which  sleep  overcame  him,  and  the  Fomorians 
mocked  his  distended  paunch.  When  he  rose,  uneasy  was  his 
movement,  but  he  bravely  bore  his  huge  branched  fork  or  club, 
dragging  it  till  its  track  was  like  a  boundary-ditch,  so  that  men 
call  that  "the  track  of  Dagda's  club."    An  obscene  story  fol- 


THE   STRIFE  OF  THE   GODS  31 

lows  regarding  his  amour  with  Indech's  daughter,  who  agreed 
to  practise  magic  against  her  father's  army.^^ 

Before  the  battle  each  chief  promised  Lug  prodigies  of  val- 
our, craftsmanship,  or  magic  —  weapons,  and  armour  in  unfail- 
ing abundance,  enfeeblement  and  destruction  of  the  enemy, 
the  power  of  satire  upon  them,  magical  healing  of  wounded  or 
slain.  Lug's  two  witches  said,  "We  will  enchant  the  trees  and 
the  stones  and  the  sods  of  the  earth  so  that  they  shall  become 
a  host  under  arms  against  the  foe";  but  Lug  was  prevented 
from  going  to  the  fray,  because  "they  feared  an  early  death  for 
the  hero  owing  to  the  multitude  of  his  arts."  Preliminary  com- 
bats occurred  in  which  the  superior  magic  of  the  Tuatha  De 
Danann  was  apparent.  Weapons  were  restored  or  new  ones 
made  in  a  twinkling  by  Goibniu,  Luchtine,  and  Creidne, 
Goibniu  (cf.  Old  Irish  goha,  "smith")  had  promised  that  though 
the  battle  lasted  seven  years,  he  would  replace  every  broken 
sword  or  spear-head;  no  spear-head  forged  by  him  would  miss, 
and  none  whom  it  pierced  would  continue  in  life.  He  kept  his 
promise,  making  weapons  by  three  turns  in  his  forge,  and  re- 
newed the  blunted  or  broken  instruments  of  war.  Elsewhere  we 
learn  that  Goibniu's  immortal  ale,  like  nectar  and  soma,  made 
the  divinities  immortal, ^^  so  that  he  is  the  equivalent  of  the 
Greek  Hephaistos,  god  of  craftsmen,  who  poured  out  nectar 
for  the  gods  at  their  banquet,  and  of  the  Vedic  deity  Tvastr, 
who  made  the  cup  from  which  the  gods  drank.^^  Why  divine 
smiths  should  be  associated  with  the  drink  of  the  gods  is  not 
clear,  but  probably  we  have  here  different  forms  of  a  myth 
common  to  the  Indo-European  peoples.  Goibniu  is  still  re- 
membered In  Irish  folk-tales. 

Creidne,  the  cerd,  or  brazier,  promised  to  supply  rivets  for 
the  spears,  hilts  for  the  swords,  and  bosses  and  rims  for  the 
shields;  he  made  the  rivets  in  three  turns  and  cast  the  rings  to 
them.  Creidne,  whom  euhemerizing  tradition  described  as  hav- 
ing been  drowned  while  bringing  golden  ore  from  Spain  to 
Ireland,  may^be  compared  with  Len  Linfiaclach,  cerd  of  the 


32  CELTIC  MYTHOLOGY 

god  Bodb,  who  lived  in  Loch  Lein,  making  the  bright  vessels 
of  Fand,  daughter  of  Flidais.  Every  evening  he  threw  his 
anvil  eastward  as  far  as  a  grave-mound  at  Indeoin  na  nDese 
and  it  in  turn  cast  three  showers  toward  the  grave,  of  water, 
of  fire,  and  of  purple  gems.^^ 

Luchta  the  carpenter  {saer)  promised  to  supply  all  the  shields 
and  javelin-shafts  required  for  the  battle.  These  shafts  he 
made  with  three  chippings,  the  third  completing  them  and  set- 
ting them  in  the  rings  of  the  spears,  or  he  threw  them  with 
marvellous  accuracy  at  the  sockets  of  the  spear-heads  stuck  by 
Goibniu  in  the  door-lintels,  this  being  precisely  paralleled  by 
the  art  of  Caoilte,  the  survivor  of  the  Feinn.^^ 

The  mortally  wounded  were  placed  in  a  well  over  which 
Diancecht  and  his  children  sang  spells,  or  into  which  he  put 
healing  herbs;  and  thus  they  became  whole.^^  The  Fomorians 
sent  Ruadan,  son  of  Bres  and  of  Brig,  daughter  of  Dagda, 
to  discover  the  reason  of  these  things;  and  a  second  time  he 
was  sent  to  kill  one  of  the  divine  craftsmen.  He  obtained  one 
of  the  magic  spears  and  wounded  Goibniu,  who  slew  Ruadan 
and  then  entered  the  healing  well,  while  Brig  bewailed  her 
son  with  the  first  death-keen  heard  in  Ireland.  Here,  as  so 
often,  the  origin  of  mourning  chants  and  runes  is  ascribed  to 
divinities. ^^ 

Before  the  battle  Lug  escaped  from  his  guards  and  heart- 
ened the  host  by  circumambulating  them  on  one  foot  with  one 
eye  closed,  chanting  a  spell  for  their  protection  —  the  attitude 
of  the  savage  medicine-man,  probably  signifying  concentra- 
tion. Then  came  the  clash  of  battle,  "gory,  shivering,  crowded, 
sanguineous,  the  river  ran  in  corpses  of  foes."  Nuada  and  Ma- 
cha  were  slain  by  Balor,  who  possessed  an  evil  eye,  or  was  a 
personification  of  the  evil  eye,  so  much  feared  by  the  Celts. 
Once  when  his  father's  Druids  were  concocting  magic  potions, 
the  fumes  gave  his  eye  poisonous  power,  and  his  eyelid  was 
raised  by  four  men,  but  only  on  the  battle-field,  where  no  army 
could  resist  it.    When  Lug  appeared,  Balor  desired  it  to  be 


THE   STRIFE  OF  THE  GODS  33 

lifted,  but  Lug  cast  a  stone  at  the  eye,  so  that  it  was  carried 
through  his  head,  blasting  some  of  his  own  men.^^  In  a  ballad 
account  of  this,  Balor  was  beheaded  by  Lug,  but  asked  him  to 
set  the  head  upon  his  own  and  earn  his  blessing.  Fortunately 
for  himself,  however.  Lug  set  it  on  a  hazel,  and  it  dropped 
poison  which  split  the  hazel  in  two.  The  tree  became  the  abode 
of  vultures  and  ravens  for  many  years,  until  Manannan  caused 
it  to  be  dug  up,  when  a  poiso-nous  vapour  from  its  roots  killed 
and  wounded  many  of  the  workmen.  Of  the  wood  Luchta 
made  a  shield  for  Manannan,  which  became  one  of  the  famous 
shields  of  Erin.  It  could  not  be  touched  in  battle  and  it  always 
caused  utter  rout.    Finally  it  became  Fionn's  shield. ^^ 

The  war-goddess  Morrigan  sang  a  magic  rune  to  hearten 
the  host,  and  the  battle  became  a  rout  for  the  Fomorians, 
though  not  before  Ogma  and  Indech  had  fallen  in  single  com- 
bat. Bres  was  found  unguarded  by  Lug  and  others,  and  made 
three  offers  for  his  life;  but  two  of  these  —  that  Ireland's  kine 
should  always  be  in  milk,  and  that  corn  would  be  reaped  every 
quarter  —  were  rejected.  Life  was  offered  him,  however,  if  he 
would  tell  how  the  men  of  Erin  should  plough,  sow,  and  reap; 
and  when  Bres  said  that  these  things  should  always  be  done  on 
a  Tuesday,  he  was  set  free.^^  In  another  account  four  Fomorians 
escaped,  ruining  corn,  milk,  fruit,  and  sea  produce;  but  on 
November  Eve  (Samhain)  they  were  expelled  by  Bodb,  Midir, 
Oengus,  and  the  Morrigan,  so  that  never  more  should  their  dep- 
redations occur.^^  This  points  to  the  conception  of  the  Fomo- 
rians as  powers  of  blight;  that  of  Bres  suggests  rather  that  they 
were  pre-Celtic  gods  of  fertility. 

Two  curious  incidents,  revealing  the  magic  powers  of  weap- 
ons, which  were  worshipped  by  the  Celts,  and  of  musical  instru- 
ments, occur  here.  Ogma  captured  the  sword  of  the  war-god 
Tethra,  and  when  unsheathed  it  told  the  deeds  it  had  done, 
as  was  the  custom  with  swords  in  those  days,  for,  as  the  Chris- 
tian compiler  adds,  "the  reason  why  demons  spake  from  weap- 
ons was  because  weapons  were  then  worshipped  and  acted  as 


34  CELTIC  MYTHOLOGY 

safe-guards."  The  other  incident  tells  how  Dagda's  harp  was 
carried  off  and  was  found  by  Lug,  Ogma,  and  Dagda  in  the 
house  where  Bres  and  his  friends  were.  No  melody  would  sound 
from  it  until  Dagda  uttered  a  charm;  but  then  the  harp  came 
to  him,  killing  nine  men  on  its  way,  after  which  he  played  the 
three  magic  strains  of  sleep,  mourning,  and  laughter.-^  This 
harp  resembles  that  of  Teirtu  in  the  Welsh  tale  of  Kulhwch 
and  Olwen,  which  played  or  stopped  playing  of  itself  when  so 
desired. 2^ 

Thus  the  Tuatha  De  Danann  conquered,  and  the  Morrigan 
proclaimed  the  victory  to  the  royal  heights  of  Ireland,  its  hosts 
of  the  side,  its  chief  waters,  and  its  river-mouths  —  a  reminis- 
cence of  the  animistic  view  or  the  personalization  of  nature. 
Then  she  sang  of  the  world's  end  and  of  the  evils  to  come  — 
one  of  the  few  eschatological  references  in  Irish  mythology, 
though  it  is  most  likely  of  Christian  origin.^® 

This  curious  story  is  undoubtedly  based  on  old  myths  of 
divine  wars,  but  what  these  denoted  is  uncertain.  Both  Tuatha 
De  Danann  and  Fomorians  are  superhuman.  Vaguely  we  dis- 
cern behind  the  legend  a  strife  of  anthropomorphic  figures  of 
summer,  light,  growth,  and  order,  with  powers  of  winter,  dark- 
ness, blight,  and  disorder.  Such  powers  agree  but  ill.  There 
is  strife  between  them,  as,  to  the  untutored  eye,  there  is  strife 
in  the  parts  of  nature  for  which  they  stand;  and  this  apparent 
dualism  is  reflected  on  the  life  of  the  beings  who  represent  the 
powers  of  nature.  All  mythologies  echo  the  strife.  The  Baby- 
lonian Marduk  and  the  gods  battle  with  Tiamat  and  her  brood; 
gods  and  Titans  (or  Jotuns),  Re'  and  'Apop,  fight,  and  those 
hostile  to  gods  of  light  and  growth,  gods  dear  to  man's  heart, 
are  represented  in  demoniac  guise.  If  Tuatha  De  Danann  and 
Fomorians  were  both  divine  but  hostile  groups  of  the  Irish 
Celts,  the  sinister  character  of  the  latter  would  not  be  for- 
gotten by  the  annalists,  who  regarded  both  with  puzzled  eyes 
and  sought  vainly  to  envisage  them  as  mortals.  Or,  again,  the 
two  may  be  hostile  sets  of  deities,  because  divinities  respec- 


THE   STRIFE   OF  THE   GODS  35 

tlvely  of  Celts  and  aborigines.  The  Fomorlans  are,  in  fact,  called 
gods  of  the  menial  F^rbolgs,  who  are  undoubtedly  an  aborig-l 
inal   race,   while   Joniorians  are  described   in   later  Chmtian' 

times   as  lyigrR clous   and   demoniac,   unlike  the Tuatha-De 

Danaxift^and  the  pagaa-Celts  must  already  have  regarded  them 
a§-ev41r.  The  gods  of  a  conquering  race  are  often  regarded  as 
hostile  to  those  of  the  aborigines,  and  vice  versa,  and  now  new 
myths  arise.  In  either  case  the  close  relationship  in  which  the 
groups  stand  by  marriage  or  descent  need  not  be  an  invention 
of  the  compiler.  Pagan  mythology  Is  Inconsistent,  and  com- 
promise Is  Inevitable.  Conquerors  and  conquered  tend  to 
coalesce,  and  this  is  true  of  their  gods;  or,  as  different  tribes  of 
one  race  now  intermarry,  now  light,  so  also  may  their  evil  and 
their  friendly  divinities.  Zeus  was  son  of  the  Titan  Kronos, 
yet  hostile  to  him.  Vile,  Ve,  and  Odin,  father  of  the  gods,  were 
sons  of  a  giant,  and  the  gods  fought  with  giants.  Other  paral- 
lels might  be  cited;  but  what  is  certain  is  that  gods  of  an 
orderly  world  —  of  growth,  craftsmanship,  medicine,  poetry, 
and  eloquence.  If  also  of  magic  and  war  —  are  opposed  to 
beings  envisaged,  on  the  whole,  as  harmful.  In  this  combat 
some  of  the  gods  are  slain.  If  this  were  told  of  them  in  the  old 
myths,  probably  It  did  not  affect  the  continuance  of  their  cult. 
Pagan  gods  are  mortal  and  immortal;  their  life  is  a  perennial 
drama,  which  ever  begins  and  ends,  and  Is  ever  being  renewed 
—  a  reflexion  of  the  life  of  nature  Itself. 

In  another  story  the  strife  of  powers  of  light  and  growth  with 
those  of  darkness  and  blight  Is  suggested,  though  the  latter  are 
euhemeristlcally  described  as  mortals.  Three  men  came  from 
Athens  with  their  mother  Carman — Valiant,  Black,  and  Evil, 
sons  of  Extinction,  who  was  son  of  Darkness,  and  he  son  of  Ail- 
ment. By  her  incantations  Carman  ruined  every  place  where 
she  came,  while  her  sons  destroyed  through  plundering  and  dis- 
honesty. They  came  to  Ireland  to  blight  the  corn  of  the  Tuatha 
De  Danann,  who  sent  against  them  Ai,  a  poet,  Cridenbel  the 
lampooner,  Lugh  Laebach,  a  wizard,  and  Bechuille,  a  witch, 


36  CELTIC  MYTHOLOGY 

some  of  whom  have  already  played  a  part  in  the  story  of  Mag- 
Tured.  By  spells  they  drove  the  men  oversea,  but  not  until 
they  gave  the  Seven  Things  which  they  served  as  security  that 
they  would  not  return,  and  left  their  mother  as  a  hostage.  She 
died  of  grief,  begging  the  gods  to  hold  an  annual  festival  at  her 
burial-place  and  to  call  it  by  her  name;  and  as  long  as  they 
kept  it  the  Leinstermen  were  promised  plenty  of  corn,  fruit, 
milk,  and  fish.^°  No  explanation  is  given  as  to  what  the 
mysterious  "  Seven  Things  "  were. 

In  other  tales  groups  of  gods  are  seen  at  strife  with  each  other 
and  in  their  conflict  they  were  sometimes  not  too  mighty  to 
seek  the  help  of  heroes.  An  example  of  this  occurs  in  the  story 
/of  CjkJbulainn's  visit  to  F.lysJTipi.  In  spite  of  the  prowess  of  the 
god  Labraid,  sung  by  the  goddesses  Fand  and  Liban,  the  time 
has  come  when  he  must  give  battle  to  supernatural  foes  — 
Senach  the  Unearthly,  Eochaid,  Eol,  and  Eogan  the  Stream, 
the  last  mentioned  in  the  Book  of  Invasions  {Leabhar  Gabdla)  as 
hostile  to  the  Tuatha  Dp  Danann.^^  These  were  united,  appar- 
ently, with  Manannan,  whose  consort  Fand,  Labraid's  sister, 
had  left  him.^^  Labraid  was  afraid,  for  the  contest  would  be  of 
doubtful  issue.  Glad  indeed  would  he  be  of  the  hero  Cuchu- 
lainn's  aid,  and  for  that  assistance  he  was  willing  to  give  him 
his  sister  Fand.  When  Cuchulainn  arrived  in  the  gods'  domain 
and  was  welcomed  by  Labraid,  they  gazed  on  the  vast  armies  of 
the  foe,  while  two  ravens,  skilled  in  Druidic  secrets,  announced 
the  hero's  presence  to  the  hosts.  Next  morning  Eochaid  went 
to  wash  at  a  stream,  when  Cuchulainn  slew  him;  and  a  great 
fight  followed  between  Cuchulainn  and  Senach,  who  also  was 
slain.  Cuchulainn  then  put  forth  all  his  might,  and  so  great 
was  the  carnage  that  Labraid  himself  entreated  him  to  end  it; 
and  then  Labraid  sang: 

"A  mighty  host,  with  multitudes  of  horses. 
Attacked  me  on  every  side; 

They  were  the  people  of  Manannan,  son  of  the  sea, 
Whom  Eogan  had  called  to  his  aid." 


THE   STRIFE   OF  THE   GODS  37 

Another  instance  occurs  in  the  story  of  Loegaire,  son  of  the 
King  of  Connaught.  The  people  of  Connaught  were  met  in 
assembly  near  the  Loch  of  the  Birds  in  the  plain  of  Ai,  when  a 
stranger  approached  them  through  the  mist  which  rose  from 
the  lake.  He  wore  a  purple  cloak,  and  his  yellow  hair  fell  upon 
his  shoulders.  A  golden-hilted  sword  hung  at  his  side;  in  his 
right  hand  he  carried  a  five-pointed  spear,  and  on  his  left  arm 
a  shield  with  a  golden  boss.  Loegaire  welcomed  him,  and  he 
told  how  he  had  come  from  the  gods'  land  to  seek  the  aid  of 
warriors.  Fiachna  was  his  name,  and  he  had  slain  his  wife's 
ravisher,  but  had  been  attacked  by  his  nephew,  Goll,  son  of  the 
king  of  the  fort  of  Mag  Mell,  and  in  seven  battles  had  been 
vanquished,  so  that  in  view  of  a  new  conflict  he  had  come  for 
succour.  He  sang  of  the  beauty  of  the  land  and  of  the  bloody 
combats  fought  there  among  the  people  of  majestic  race,  and 
how  silver  and  gold  awaited  those  who  would  help  him.  Beau- 
tiful were  the  divine  warriors,  with  blue  eyes  of  powerful  sight, 
teeth  brilliant  as  glass,  and  red  lips.  Mighty  in  conflict,  In 
their  assemblies  they  sang  In  melodious  verse  of  learned  mat- 
ters.^^  Fiachna  disappeared  Into  the  lake,  and  now  Loegaire 
appealed  to  his  men.  Fifty  warriors  plunged  with  him  into  the 
water  and  in  the  divine  land  under  the  loch  joined  Fiachna 
against  his  foe,  besieging  the  fort  of  Mag  Mell,  where  his  wife 
was  a  prisoner.  The  defenders  released  her,  and  she  followed 
the  vanquishers,  singing  of  her  love  for  Goll.  Fiachna  gave 
his  daughter.  Sun  Tear,  to  Loegaire,  and  each  of  his  men  also 
received  a  wife.  For  a  year  they  remained  in  the  divine  land, 
until  they  became  home-sick;  and  as  they  left  him  Fiachna 
bade  them  mount  on  horseback  and  not  alight  on  the  earth  if 
they  wished  to  return  to  him.  The  people  of  Connaught  re- 
joiced to  see  them  again,  for  sorely  had  they  mourned  them, 
but  now  Loegaire  announced  their  return  to  the  gods'  land, 
nor  would  he  remain,  although  his  father  offered  him  the  king- 
dom, its  gold,  and  its  women.  The  unmoved  son  sang  of  the 
divine  land,  where  beer  fell  in  showers,  and  every  army  was  of 


38  CELTIC  MYTHOLOGY 

a  hundred  thousand  warriors,  while  as  one  went  from  kingdom 
to  kingdom,  the  melodious  music  of  the  gods  was  heard.  He 
told  of  his  goddess  wife  and  those  of  his  comrades  and  of  the 
cauldrons  and  drinking-horns  taken  from  the  fort;  for  one 
night  of  the  nights  of  the  sid  he  would  not  accept  his  father's 
kingdom.  With  these  words  he  quitted  the  king  for  ever  and 
returned  to  Mag  Mell,  there  to  share  the  sovereignty  with 
Fiachna  —  a  noble  divine  reward  to  a  mortal.^^  In  the  heroic 
cycle  of  Fionn  other  instances  of  heroes  helping  gods  will  be 
found. 

War  between  different  divine  groups  is  also  found  in  the 
story  of  Caibell  and  Etar,  Kings  of  the  side  (divine  or  fairy- 
folk),  each  of  whom  had  a  beautiful  daughter.  Two  Kings  who 
sought  the  maidens  in  marriage  were  offered  battle  for  them. 
If,  however,  the  combat  was  fought  in  the  sid,  the  sid  would  be 
polluted  —  an  idea  contrary  to  that  of  these  other  instances  of 
war  in  the  gods'  land;  and  if  the  sid-iolk  were  seen  among 
men,  they  would  no  longer  be  invisible  at  will.  The  fight, 
therefore,  took  place  at  night,  lest  there  should  be  no  distinc- 
tion between  them  and  men;  and  the  side  took  the  form  of  deer. 
So  terrible  was  the  struggle  that  four  hillocks  were  made  of  the 
hoofs  and  antlers  of  the  slain;  and  to  quell  it,  water  broke 
forth  from  a  well  and  formed  Loch  Riach,  into  which  if  white 
sheep  are  cast  every  seventh  year  at  the  proper  hour,  they 
become  crimson.    Etar  alone  of  the  kings  survived.^^ 

The_Oiriatian  scribes  were  puzzkd_x»ver  the  Tjialha^_Pe 
Dguann.  The  earliest  reference  to  them  says  that  because  of 
thejrjcnowledge  they  were  banisfa^d  from -heaven,  arriving  in 
Ireland  in  clouds  and  mists  —  the  smoJ^e  of  their  burning  ships, 
s^ys  an  euhemerizing  tradition.  Eochaid  ua  Flainn,  in  the  tenth 
century,  calls  them  "plxantonis"  {siabhra)  and  asks  whe-ther 
thev  came  frornhpavpr^  ny,  Pfrth;  wprp  tVipy  dr^"'^"'^  ^f  "^" 
They  were  affiliated  tq  J^ph^t  yet  regardeiL-as  demons  in-  the 
Book,,nJ  Invasions.  Another  tradition  makes  them  a  branch 
of  the  descendants  of  Nemed  who,  after  being  in  the  Njorthern 


THE   STRIFE   OF  THE  GODS  39 

isles  learning  wizardry,  returned  to  Ireland.  The  annalists 
treated  them  more  or  less  as  men;  official Qiristianity.^more  or 
less  as_d£inQns;  popular  belief  and  romance  as  aJdnd.of  beau- 
tifuLiairy-jaca.with  much  of  their  pld  divine-aspect. 

D'Arbois  translates  Tua^ha  DA_£>anann  as  "peopleu-of  the 
god—ydiose  mother  is  called  .Qanu";^^  Stokes  renders  it  "folk 
or  folks  of  th€-godiie&&-XXanu  " ;  ^^  Stern  prefers  to  vegSLrdDjinann 
as  a  later  addition  and  to  take  the  earlier  name  as  TtuUkaMloT 
££2L-X^  — "■Oxe^-diuine  tribe/'  or  "the  men  of., the  god."  ^s 
Three  insignificant  members  of  the  group,  Brian,  luchar,  and 
lucharba,  are  sometimes  called  "three  gods  of  Danu";  and 
hence  also,  perhaps,  the  whole  group  is  designated  "men  of 
the  three  gods."  Brian,  luchax^-and-Iucharba  are  also  termed 
tri.-dh-dana,  or  "tjjree  gcuis_.-Q£-Ji»,"  i.  e.  "knowledge,"  or 
"fate."  Danand— ^Dianu)  is  mentioned  with  Bechuille  as  a 
separate-goddess,  and  both  are  called  Josteirjnotkers  of  the 
gods^  Cormac!s_  G/ojiary  knows- nothing  of  Danu^  but  speaks 
of  a  godde^§[Axmj-mat&ljimmMMlMnim  sium.  — "  Lt  was  well  she 
nurse4-th#-gGds"  — while  he  refers  to  two  hills  iniLerryas  "the 
papa-oiAnu,"  which  a  later  glossary  calls  "thg.p/3ps  of  Danu." 
Ireland  is  called  lath  n!Anann,  aad-Anu-is  mejxtioned  with 
Macha^  Mon%an^and  Badb,  the  jstanrgoddesses,  though  other 
passages  give  Panu  along- with- these.  PQSsiblyJDa.nu  is  a  mis- 
take for__,All!i^  through  confusion  wkh«^i2,  "kjaowledge," 
knowledge  as  a  function  of-BriaHjJjichar^ and- lucharba  being 
personified  as  Danu,  so  that  they  would  then  be  called  gods  or 
sons  of^Da4i%  though -ikey  were- actually— sons- oflBrigit.  As 
Stem  points  out,  Danu  can  scarcely  be  mother  of  the  whole 
group,  since  she  herself  is  daughter  of  Delbaeth,  who  was 
brother  of  Dagda,  Ogma,  Bres,  etc.  If  Anu  was  mother  of  the 
group,  the  likeness  of  her  name  to  Danu  would  also  lead  to  the 
mistake;  and  Anu  as  goddess  is  perhaps  a  personification  of 
Ireland,  a  kind  of  earth  mother.  On  the  whole,  the  general 
relationship  of  the  euhemerized  gods  evolved  by  the  annalists 

is  as  mythical  as  the  pagan  stories  themselves. 

Ill — 4 


40  CELTIC  MYTHOLOGY 

In  the  storj'"  of  The  Children  of  Tuirenn  Brian,  luchar,  and 
lucharba  are  sons  of  Tuirenn,  son  of  Ogma.  One  day  Cian,  at 
enmity  with  them,  saw  them  approaching.  Striking  himself 
with  a  Druldic  wand,  he  became  a  pig,  but  Brian  noticed  this 
and  changed  himself  and  his  brothers  Into  hounds  which  chased 
and  killed  Clan  with  stones,  because  he  said  that  weapons 
would  tell  the  deed  to  his  son.  They  burled  his  body  seven 
times  ere  the  earth  ceased  to  reject  It.  Lug,  Clan's  son,  was 
told  of  this  deed  by  the  earth,  and  he  forced  the  children  of 
Tuirenn  to  bring  many  magical  treasures.  In  getting  which 
danger  was  Incurred.  By  their  father's  advice  they  crossed  the 
sea  in  Manannan's  canoe  and  succeeded  in  obtaining  the  treas- 
ures, but  now  had  to  give  "three  shouts  on  Cnoc  Mlodh- 
chaoin,"  a  hill  on  which  Miodhchaoin  and  his  sons  prohibited 
all  shouting.  Here,  then,  they  were  wounded  by  these  men, 
and  their  father  asked  Lug  for  the  magic  pig's  skin  which 
healed  all  wounds.  He  refused  it,  even  when  Brian  was  carried 
before  him,  and  thus  the  murderers  perished  miserably.^^ 

Most  of  the  names  of  the  chief  gods  have  already  been  men- 
tioned —  Dagda  or  Eochaid  OUathair,  who  in  one  place  Is  called 
an  "earth  god"  to  th&~-Tuatlia,D£_Danann,  and  also  their 
"god  of  wizardry"  —  probably  a  deity  of  fruitfulness  and  fer- 
tility; Oengus;  Nuada;  Ogma,  god  of  poetry;  Goibniu,  god  of 
smiths;  Creidne,  of  braziers;  Diancecht,  of  medicine;  Manan- 
nan,  son  of  Ler;  MIdir;  Bodb  Dearg;  Lug,  perhaps  a  sun-god; 
and  other  lesser  divinities.  Of,goddesses  there  are  Ami  nrT)^nu; 
■Bxigit,  goddess  of  poetry  and  primitive  culture;  Etain;  and  the 
war-goddesses  —  Morrigan,  Macha,  and  Neman,  while  Badb 
constitutes  a  fourth  or  sometimes  takes  the  place  of  one  of  the 
triple  group.  Th^Jjuatha  De.  Danann  had  power  ovex_agrI- 
culluie.  aad_ciittle,  but  they  had  other  functions,  while  all  of 
them  had  greal  magic  potency.  Unfortunately  few  myths 
about  these  functions  exist,  and  their  precise  nature  must  be 
matter  of  conjecture.  The  mythlco-magical  nature  of  the 
gods'  possessions  survives  even  in  records  which  regard  them 


PLATE  V 
Smertullos 

This  deity  is  perhaps  a  god  of  the  underworld, 
particularly  as  the  serpent  is  a  chthonian  creature. 
See  p.  158.  From  an  altar  found  at  Notre  Dame, 
Paris.  For  other  Celtic  deities  of  Elysium  see 
Plates  VII-IX,  XII-XIV,  XVI,  XXV-XXVI. 


THE   STRIFE   OF  THE   GODS  41 

as  mortals.  The  preface  to  the  story  of  the  battle  of  Mag-Tured 
tells  how  from  Falias  was  brought  the  stone  of  Fal,  which 
roared  under  every  king  who  would  assume  the  sovereignty. 
From  Qorias  was  broughj^.  T.ug's  spear;  no  battle  was  ever  won 
against  it  or  against  him  who_JiQie_it.  From  F;^^ias_cajne 
Nua.da.^SESWQird,  which  none  could  escape  when  it  was  drawn. 
From__M]i[i.'3:S-,came  Qlagd^'s  ^gnldrnn.  from^.which.  na-com- 
panyL_£ver-  went^away__uiithankful.'*°    Their  magic  food-  and 

other    ppggp'^ginnR    wi11    b^    mpntinnpd    ]afer.      Some    things    of 

which  no  myths  remain  are  said  to  have  been  in  the  Brug  na 
Boinne  —  the  bed  of  Dagda,  the  two  paps  of  Morrigan,  the 
comb  and  casket  of  Dagda's  wife  (i.  e.  two  hills),  the  stone  wall 
of  Oengus,  the  shot  of  Midir's  eye,  and  the  like. 


CHAPTER  II 
TUATHA  DE   DANANN  AND   MILESIANS 

THE  annalistic  account  of  the  conquest  of  the  TuatKa^De 
Danann  by  the  Milesians  cannot  conceal  the  divinity  of 
the  former  nor  the  persistence  of  the  belief  in  Druidic  magic 
and  supernatural  power.  M.  d'Arbois  has  shown  that  the 
scheme  which  makes  the  Tuatha  De  Danann  masters  of _I^re- 
land  jor  one  hundred  and^ixty-nine  years  untiljthe- Milesians 
came  Ij^the  invention  of  Gilla  Coemain,  who  died  in  1072. 
The  Be^h-i^  Invasions  adopted  it,  and  it  assumes  that  the  gods 
reigned  in  succession  as  kings  until  1700  b.  c.  Even  in  Gilla 
Coemain's  time,  however,  this  scheme  was  not  always  ac- 
cepted, for  Tigernach  in  his  Annals  knows  no  historic  Irish  date 
before  305  b.  c,  while  current  tales  showed  that  the  gods  were 
still  alive  at  a  much  later  date,  e.  g.  in  the  time  of  Conchobar 
and  Ciicliulainii^alleged  IrisJLxQntempQ.r-a.ries.of  Christ.^ 

When  the  Milpf^^j^ns  arriypd^  three-Kings  nf  tho  Tiiat^q  D^ 
Danana-xuled  —  MacCuill  ("SqiljqI the  Hazel"),  MacCecht 
("SDn_Qf_the.  Plough"),  and  AladGieine  ("Son^f  the  Sun"), 
married  respectively  to  Banba,  Fotla,  aiidJElriu,  whose  names 
are  ancient  names  of  Ireland,  the  last  still  surviving  as  "Erin." 
Were  these  old  eponymous  goddesses,  from  whom  parts  of 
Ireland  were  supposed  to  have  taken  their  names,  or  were  they 
inventions  of  the  annalists,  derived  from  titles  given  to  the 
country?  The  former  is  suggested  by  an  incident  in  the  story. 
The  three  Kings  may  have  been  gods  of  nature  and  agriculture, 
and  in  fighting  th&^^lilciians  they  were  respectively  slain  by 
Ebcr^Airem  ("Ploughman"),  and  Amairgcn,  siftget-of-spells 
and  giver  of  judgements.  Thc^^i^lcaLajis  were  descendants  of  a 


TUATHA  DE   DANANN  AND   MILESIANS       43 

Si^jfiMail,  noble  expelled  from  Egypt,  who  came  toiSpiain,  where 
his  descendant_Bx.egon  built  a  tQjver  and  was  fathemor  grand- 
father of  ^il^,  whose  fatheris  sometimes  calledJBile.  Another 
son,  Ith,  gazing  one  evening  from  the  tower,  saw  thexQiSSt  of 
Ireland.  With  ninety  followers  he  sailed  thither  and  was  wel- 
comed-byuhfi-iings,  whoJieggedJiim  to_. settle  .a  dispute.  Very 
different  was  his  fate  from  that  of  folk-tale  heroes  called  in  to 
adjust  quarrels.  While  bidding  the  Kings  act  according  to  jus- 
tice, he  so  praised  the  fertility  of  the  land  that  they  suspected 
him  of  designs  upon  it  and  slew  him.  His  followers  carried 
his  body  to^Spain^^and  the  chiefs  of  the  Milesiajis,  resolving 
to  avenge  him,  sailed  to  Ireland,  but  the^Tuatha  De  Danann 
made  a  magic  mist,  so  that  the  island  appeared  like  a  hog's 
back  —  hence  its  name  Muic-Inis,  or  "Pig  Island."  At  last 
they  landed,  and  the  poet  Amairgen,  son  of  Mile,  sang:  — 

"I  am  a  wind  at  sea, 
I  am  a  wave  of  the  sea, 
I  am  a  roaring  of  the  sea, 
I  am  an  ox  in  strength, 
I  am  a  bird  of  prey  on  a  cliff, 
I  am  a  ray  of  the  sun, 
I  am  an  intelligent  navigator, 
I  am  a  boar  of  fierceness, 
T  am  a  lake  on  a  plain, 
I  am  an  effective  artist, 
I  am  a  giant  with  a  sharp  sword  hewing  down  an  army,"  etc.^ 

Some  see  in  this  a  species  of  Celtic  pantheism,  but  if  so  it  is 
pantheism  of  a  curious  kind,  for  it  is,  rather,  the  vain-glorious 
bombast  of  the  Celt,  to  which  there  are  parallels  in  Welsh 
poems,  where  Taliesin  speaks  of  the  successive  forms  which 
he  has  assumed.  The  comparison  should  not  be  made  with  the 
pantheism  of  the  Irishman  Erigena,  but  with  the  bragging 
utterances  of  savage  medicine-men. 

The  Milesians  met  in  succession  Banba,  Fotla,  and  Eriu, 
each  of  whom  asked  that  they  would  call  the  isle  after  her 
name.    The  Kings  then  begged  an  armistice,  ostensibly  to  dis- 


44  CELTIC  AIYTHOLOGY 

cuss  the  question  of  battle  or  capitulation,  but  really  in  order 
to  give  their  firi.iirls  time  to  prepare  incantations;  while  they 
agreed  to  accept  the  judgement  of  Amairgen,  save  that,  if  it 
were  false,  he  must  die.  Amairgen  then  told  the  Milesians  that 
they  must  embark  for  the  magic  distance  of  nine  waves;  and 
if  they  succeeded  in  returning,  the  land  would  be  theirs.  This 
was  the  first  judgement  ever  given  in  Ireland.  The  Milesians 
now  returned  to  their  ships,  but  no  sooner  had  they  gained  the 
desired  distance  than  the  Hcyids^nd  poets  of  the  gods  raised  a 
storm.  Eber  recognized  it  as  a  Druidic  storm,  which  did  not 
rage  beyond  the  top  of  the  masts;  and  Amairgen  now  invoked 
the  aid  of  the  natural  features  of  Erin  —  an  archaic  animistic 
rune,  embedded  in  the  later  story,  and  one  which  preserves  a 
primitive  stage  of  thought: 

"I  invoke  thee,  Erin, 
Brilliant,  brilliant  sea, 
Fertile,  fertile  hill. 
Wood  with  valleys, 
Flowing,  flowing  stream,"  etc. 

Now  the  storm  ceased,  and  Eber  joyfully  boasted  that  he 
would  strike  the  people  of  Erin  with  spear  and  sword;  but  that 
moment  the  tempest  burst  forth  again,  scattering  and  wreck- 
ing the  ships,  and  drowning  many.  The  survivors  landed  at  the 
B®y4Ui_and  gave  battle  to  the  Tuath^  T)^  Danann  The  three 
queens  are  said  to  have  created  a  magic  army  which  was  a 
delusion  to  the  Milesians,^  as  Lug's  witches  had  done  to  the 
Fomorians;    but  in  spite  of  this  the  Tuatha  De  Danann  were 

defeated. 

"We  boldly  gave  battle 
To  the  sprites  (siabhra)  of  the  isle  of  Banba, 
Of  which  ten  hundred  fell  together 
By  us,  of  the  Tuatha  Dc  Danann." 

At  another  conflict  a  further  rout  took  place,  in  which  the 
three  Kings  and  Queens  were  slain;  and  it  was  now  that,r-the 
survivors  of  the  Tnathg  Tin  Danann  took  refuge  in  the  under- 
grqund  sid^  the  Miirsinns  remaining  masters  of  Ireland.'' 


TUATHA   DE   DANANN  AND   MILESIANS       45 

On  whatever  this  account  Is  based,  it  is  not  itself  an  ancient 
pagan  myth,  for  gods  worshipped  by  men  are  not  defeated  by 
them  or  by  their  supposititious  ancestors.  By  the  annalists, 
real  races,  imaginary  races,  and  divine  groups  were  regarded 
more  or  less  from  one  standpoint;  all  were  human  and  might 
be  made  to  light  each  other.  Next  came  the  question  —  How 
were  the  old  gods  abandoned,  and  why  had  they  been,  or  were 
even  now,  supposed  popularly  to  live  in  the  sidF  It  was  known 
that  the  Christianized  tribes  had  forsaken  the  gods,  though 
these  had  come  to  be  regarded  by  them  as  a  kind  of  fairy  race 
living  out  of  sight,  to  whom  in  time  of  need  and  stib  rosa  they 
might  appeal.  Obviously,  then,  Christianity  must  have  caused 
their  defeat.  To  this  idea  we  may  trace  one  source  of  the  ac- 
count just  summarized.  It  is,  in  effect,  what  is  said  in  the 
Colloquy  with  the  Ancients  {Acallamh  na  Senorach),  in  which, 
regardless  of  the  annalistic  scheme,  the  gods  are  powerful  long 
after  their  supposed  defeat.  Caoilte,  survivor  of  the  Feinn  into 
the  days  of  St.  Patrick,  says  that  soon  the  Tiialha  D4Iianann 
will  be  reduced  in  power,  for  the  saint  "will  relegate  them  to 
the  foreheads  of  hills  and  rocks,  unless  that  now  and  again 
thou  see  some  poor  one  of  them  appear  as  transiently  he  re- 
visits the  earth,"  i.  e.  the  haunts  of  men.^  Hence,  perhaps,  the 
Colloquy  elsewhere  represents  them  as  possessing  not  so  much 
land  as  will  support  themselves.^  In  St.  Patrick's  Life  this 
victory  is  dramatically  represented.  He  went  to  Mag  Slecht, 
where  stood  an  image  of  Cenn  Cruaich  ("Head  of  the  Mound"), 
covered  with  gold  and  silver,  and  twelve  others  covered  with 
bronze.  The  chief  image  bowed  downward  when  he  raised  his 
crozier,  and  the  earth  swallowed  the  others,  while  their  in- 
dwelling demons,  cursed  by  the  saint,  fled  to  the  hill. 

Why,  then,  was  the  defeat  ascribed  to  the  Milesians .?    Of  / 
the  different  hostile  Celtic  groups  dwelling  in  different  parts  of/ 
Ireland,  two  at  last  became  pre-eminent  shortly  before  St.  Pat 
rick's  time,  governed  by  great  dynastic  families  and  reigning 
respectively  at  Cashel   and  Tara.     It  was   for  their  aggran- 


46  CELTIC  MYTHOLOGY 

dizement  that  the  legend  of  descent  from  Mile  and  his  ances- 
tors was  invented;  but  as  the  ^ods  had  come  to  be  regarded  as 
a  powerful  race  who  had  conquered  earlier. jaces  in  Ireland, 
so  iL  became  necessary  to  show.Jiiat^the-A'l.ilesians  had  over- 
come them.  This  pushed__tlie  Milesians  back  to  remote  anti- 
quity and  showed  that  they  had  been  masters  of  Trpbnd  RJnre 
170CL-B.C.,  while  the  -Tuatka  De  .Danann,  whose  p.aw^iL-had 
passed  at  the  coming  of  Christianity,  were  now  alleged  to  have 
been  conquered  by  them.  Thus  the  central  theory  of  those 
mediaeval  reconstructors  of  Irish  history  was  "  that- tr^land 
had  -been  subjected  to  the  Milesian  race  lor  ages  before  the 
ChrislLaiL.£ra."  Later,_jLh.e  Ulster  heroes  were  brought,  into 
relatiQn_ship  with  Mile,  as  at  last  were  aUthe  Irish  aristocracy.^ 
M^^lc  {I'^tin  wi'/^f,  "soLiier")  and  Bile  are  jn  en  of-Stra  w 
withjio  place  in  the  older  mythology,  and  hence  the  attempts 
of  Rhys  and  -d'Arbois  to  equate  Bile  with  Balor  and  with  a 
Celtic  Dispater,  as  god  of  death  and  ancestor_Qf_Lh£_Celts,  are 
nothing-but  modern  mythologizing.  The  account  of  the  con- 
quest doubtless  made  use  of  earlier  conceptions  of  supernatural 
power  and  magic,  while  still  apt  to  consider  the  Tuatha  De 
Danann  as  somehow  diflFerent  from  men  {siabhra,  "sprites"), 
this  being  the  popular  view  and  also  current  in  literary  tales 
embodying  older  myths.  The  gods  were  a  superhuman  race, 
the  side,  helping  men  on  occasion;  and  this  influenced  the 
official  view,  for  euhemeristic  documents  tell  how,  after  their 
defeat,  the  Tuatha  De  Danann  retired— ta- subterranean  pal- 
acesr^merging  now  apxithen  to  help  or  to  harm  mortals.  Even 
the  Milesians  were  not  yet  free  of  their  power,  especially  that 
of  Dagda.  Their  corn  and  milk  were  being  destroyed  by  the 
T'tAtha  DeJDlanann,  and  to  prevent  this  in  future  they  made 
friends  with  Dagda,  so  that  now  these  things  were  spared  to 
them.^  This  story  seems  to  be  the  late  form  of  the  earlier 
mythic  idea  that  corn  and  milk  depend  on  the  gods,  who,  when 
ofl"ended  by  men,  withhold  these  gifts.  They  were  also  obtained 
by  sacrifice,  e.  g.  by  off"crings  of  children  and  animal  firstlings 


TUATHA  DE   DANANN  AND  MILESIANS       47 

to  Cenn  Cruaich;^  and  elsewhere  we  find  that  the  Fomorians 
exacted  two-thirds  of  their  corn  and  milk  annually  from  the 
Nemedians.^"  Perhaps  there  is  here  a  mingling  of  the  idea  of 
destruction  by  gods  of  blight  with  that  of  the  withholding  of 
such  gifts  and  with  that  of  the  offering  of  these  things.  A  sur- 
vival of  such  sacrifices  occurs  in  the  food  and  milk  left  out  for 
the  fairies  in  Ireland  and  in  the  West  Highlands. 

The  functions  of  some  of  the  divinities  as  controllers  of  fer- 
tility are  suggested  by  references  of  this  character,  as  well  as 
by  the  symbols  on  Gaulish  monuments;  and  some  folk-lore 
collected  by  Mr.  D.  Fitzgerald  in  Limerick  shows  how  the  mem- 
ory of  these  functions  vaguely  persisted  under  a  romantic  dress. 
Cnoc  Aine  {Knockainy,  or  "Aine's  Hill")  has  always  been  con- 
sidered the  dwelling  of  Aine,  queen  of  the  fairies  of  South  Mun- 
ster  and  daughter  of  Eogabal,  of  the  Tuatha  De  Danann.  Aine, 
"the  best-hearted  woman  that  ever  lived,"  is  still  seen  in  Loch 
Guirr  or  on  Cnoc  Aine.  She  married  Lord  Desmond  after  he 
had  captured  her  —  the  usual  fairy  bride  incident  —  and  bore 
him  a  son.  Both  she  and  the  son  left  him,  but  appeared  from 
time  to  time  afterward,  the  son  becoming  Earl  of  Desmond  in 
due  course.  Once  he  spoke  to  his  mother  about  the  barrenness 
of  the  hill,  and  next  morning  it  was  planted  with  pease  set  by 
her  at  night  —  a  significant  hint  of  her  functions.  Remnants 
of  the  agricultural  ritual  survived  into  last  century  in  the  form 
of  a  procession  round  the  hill  on  St.  John's  Eve  with  clears  — 
bunches  of  straw  tied  on  poles  and  lit,  these  being  afterward 
carried  through  fields  and  cattle  to  bring  luck  to  both.  One 
year  this  was  neglected,  but  a  mysterious  procession,  with  clears, 
headed  by  Aine,  was  seen  on  the  hill.  On  another  occasion  girls 
who  had  remained  after  the  usual  procession  had  gone  met 
Aine,  who  thanked  them  for  the  honour  done  to  her  but  begged 
them  to  depart  as  "  they  wanted  the  hill  to  themselves,"  "  they  " 
being  Aine's  retinue,  seen  by  the  girls  through  a  ring  which 
she  produced."  Aine  was  thus  obviously  associated  with 
fertility-rites. 


48  CELTIC  MYTHOLOGY 

It  now  remains  to  be  seen  how,  according  to  the  annalistic 
account,  after  their  defeat  and  retirement  to  the  hollow  hills 
or  sid,  the  gods  divided  these  among  themselves,  while  at  the 
same  time  one  of  their  number  acted  as  king. 


CHAPTER  III 
THE  DIVISION  OF  THE  SID 

CELTIC  deities  may  have  been  associated  in  pagan  times 
with  hills  and  pre-historic  tumuli,  especially  those  near 
the  Boyne;  and  within  these  was  the  subterranean  land  of  the 
gods,  who  also  dwelt  on  distant  islands.  If  this  were  the  case, 
it  would  help  to  explain  why  mounds  were  regarded  as  the  re- 
treats of  the  Tuatha  De  Danann,  and  why  they  are  still  sup- 
posed to  emerge  thence  as  a  kind  of  fairies.  If  the  folk  believed 
that  the  old  gods  had  always  been  associated  with  mounds, 
it  was  easy  for  the  euhemeristic  writers  to  evolve  a  legend  of 
their  having  retired  there  after  being  defeated  by  the  Milesians. 

Within  these  hills  and  mounds  were  their  gorgeous  palaces, 
replete  with  all  Elysian  joys.  These  hollow  hills  were  known  as 
sid,  a  word  possibly  cognate  with  Latin  sedes,  and  hence  per- 
haps meaning  "seats  of  the  gods";  and  their  divine  inhabit- 
ants were  the  des  side,  fir  side,  mnd  side,  "the  people  [or  "men" 
or  "women"]  of  the  sid,'"  or  simply  "the  sidey  These  are 
everywhere  regarded  as  the  Tuatha  De  Danann  or  their  de- 
scendants. Men  used  to  worship  the  side,  says  St.  Fiacc's 
hymn,  while  the  daughters  of  King  Loegaire  regarded  St. 
Patrick  and  his  white-robed  bishops  as  des  side,  appearing  on 
earth. ^  In  later  times  the  side  were  held  to  be  fairies  and  were 
called  by  various  names,  but  these  fairies  closely  resemble 
the  earlier  side,  the  Tuatha  De  Danann,  while  they  are  not 
necessarily  of  small  stature.  In  this  they  are  very  like  th.&  fees 
of  mediaeval  French  belief  —  romantic  survivals  of  earlier 
goddesses. 

In  some  stories  the  side  are  associated  both  with  the  sid  and 


50  CELTIC  \nTHOLOGY 

with  the  island  Elysium,  these  being  regarded  as  synonymous 
—  the  goddess  with  whom  Connla  elopes  is  of  the  des  side,  yet 
she  comes  from  the  island  overseas.  The  confusion  may  be 
due  to  the  fact  that  the  gods  were  supposed  to  have  various 
dwelling-places,  not  necessarily  to  the  priority  of  one  belief 
over  the  other.  On  the  other  hand,  the  Mesca  Ulad,  or  Intoxi- 
cation of  the  Ulstermen,  says  that  after  their  defeat  the  Tua- 
tha  De  Danann  went  underground  to  speak  with  the  side,^ 
although  this  may  be  only  the  confused  notion  of  an  annalist 
who  knew  of  the  side,  yet  regarded  the  Tuatha  De  Danann  as 
human. 

The  mingled  romantico-annalistic  view  was  that  the  Tuatha 
De  Danann  retired  to  the  sid.  An  early  text,  The  Conquest  of 
the  Sid  {De  Gahail  int  sida),  tells  how  Dagda  apportioned  the 
sid  among  them,  his  son  Oengus,  who  was  absent,  being  omitted. 
This  story  is  clearly  based  upon  an  earlier  myth  which  narrates 
how  the  chief  god  divided  their  various  spheres  among  the 
divinities,  as  the  Babylonian  Marduk  prepared  the  mansions 
of  the  deities  and  made  them  inhabit  these  as  their  strongholds. 
Of  Dagda's  sid  another  document  says: 

"  Behold  the  sid  before  your  eyes, 
It  is  manifest  to  you  that  it  is  a  king's  mansion 
Which  was  built  by  the  firm  Dagda; 
It  was  a  wonder,  a  court,  an  admirable  hill."  ^ 

This  was  the  Brug  na  Boinne.  Oengus  Mac  Ind  ()c,  or  "  Son 
of  the  Young  Ones,"  viz.  Dagda  and  Boann,  was  then  with  his 
foster-father  Midir,  but  soon  claimed  his  abode  as  Esau  did  his 
blessing.  The  claim,  however,  could  not  be  granted,  whereupon 
Oengus  asked  to  spend  the  night  in  Dagda's  palace,  to  which  his 
father  agreed,  granting  him  also  the  next  day.  When  this  had 
elapsed,  Oengus  was  bidden  to  go,  but  refused,  because,  time 
being  composed  of  day  and  night,  his  tenancy  must  be  per- 
petual. Thus  Dagda  was  dispossessed;  and  the  sid,  passing  to 
Oengus,  took  his  name,  Brug  Maic  Ind  (^c* 

In  another  version  of  this  story  from  the  Book  of  Fermoy,  in- 


PLATE  VI 

A    AND    B 

Plan  of  the  Brug  na  Boinne 

1.  General  view  of  the  tumulus. 

2.  Cross-section  of  the  mound. 

3.  Plan  of  the  central  chamber. 

4.  View  of  the  stone-work  of  the  Brug  and  its 
entrance,  after  the  removal  of  the  earth. 

5.  General  ground-plan  of  the  Brug. 

See  also  Plate  I  and  cf.  pp.  66-67,  ^7^77- 


m 


/©       c: 


r,,,;'V,,.p' 


THE   DIVISION  OF  THE   SID  .51 

fluenced  by  the  view  that  some  of  the  Tuatha  De  Danann  had 
died  as  mortals,  Dagda  has  long  since  passed  away,  and  the 
mounds  are  places  of  sepulture,  perhaps  a  reflection  of  the  fact 
that  kings  were  interred  there.  Yet  they  are  apportioned  by  the 
chief  survivors,  Bodb  Dearg  and  Manannan,  the  latter  having 
the  task  of  selecting  concealed  dwellings.  These  he  found  in 
beautiful  hills  and  valleys,  and  drew  round  them  an  invisible 
and  impenetrable  wall,  though  the  Tuatha  De  Danann  them- 
selves could  see  and  pass  through  it.  He  gave  them  Goibniu's 
ale,  which  preserved  them  from  old  age,  disease,  and  death, 
and  his  own  swine,  which,  killed  and  eaten  one  day,  were  alive 
the  next  and  fit  again  for  use.  Thus  even  from  this  euhemeris- 
tic  narrative  the  real  divinity  of  its  personages  appears.^ 

In  this  account  Bodb  Dearg  is  made  sovereign  of  the  Tuatha 
De  Danann,  as  he  is  also  in  the  story  of  The  Children  of  Ler 
{Aided  Chlainne  Lir).  Ler,  disgusted  at  the  choice,  retired, 
whereupon  the  others  resolved  to  punish  him,  but  were  over- 
ruled by  Bodb,  who  gave  Ler  his  daughter  Aobh  as  wife,  pro- 
vided he  would  pay  allegiance  to  him.  Aobh  bore  him  two 
daughters  and  two  sons  before  her  death,  and  to  comfort  him 
Bodb  now  gave  him  her  sister  Aoife  who,  jealous  of  her  step- 
children, transformed  them  into  swans  —  a  shape  which  they 
must  keep  for  nine  hundred  years,  though  they  retained  speech 
and  reason  and  the  power  of  exquisite  song.  As  a  punishment 
Bodb  changed  Aoife  into  a  "demon  of  the  air."  Not  till  the 
time  of  St.  Patrick  and  St.  Mochaomhog  did  Ler's  children 
resume  their  own  form.  Withered  and  old,  they  now  accepted 
the  Christian  faith  and  died,  after  having  found  their  father's 
palace  a  roofless  ruin.^ 

In  the  version  given  in  the  Book  of  Fermoy  Elcmar,  foster- 
father  of  Oengus,  received  the  Brug  na  Boinne,  and  Manannan 
advised  Oengus  to  ask  it  from  him.  Through  Manannan's 
magic  power  Elcmar  was  expelled,  and  Oengus  gained  the  sid, 
where  he  dwells  invisibly,  eating  the  swine  and  drinking  the  ale 
of  immortality.   In  still  another  version  a  curious  account  of  the 


52    .  CELTIC  MYTHOLOGY 

origin  of  Oengus  is  given.  He  was  a  natural  son  of  Dagda,  by 
Elcmar's  wife.  Dagda  sent  Elcmar  on  a  journey  and  wrought 
spells,  bringing  darkness  and  "strayings"  upon  him,  and  ward- 
ing off  hunger  and  thirst  from  him.  He  obtained  access  to  the 
goddess,  perhaps  because,  like  Uther  and  Manannan  on  like 
occasions,  he  assumed  the  appearance  of  the  real  husband. 
Elcmar  was  still  absent  when  Oengus  was  born,  but  he  may 
later  have  discovered  the  truth,  for  Oengus  was  taunted,  as 
Merlin  was,  with  having  no  parents.  He  went  in  tears  to  the 
god  Midir,  who  took  him  to  Dagda,  and  the  latter  acknowl- 
edged him  as  his  son,  bidding  him  go  to  Elcmar's  sid  and 
threaten  him  with  death  if  he  would  not  promise  him  "the 
sovereignty  of  a  day  and  night  in  his  land"  —  the  same  trick 
which  Oengus  played  on  Dagda  in  the  first  version.^  This  story 
is  introductory  to  the  beautiful  myth  of  Etain,  to  be  told  later; 
but  here  it  should  be  noted  that  in  a  poem  by  the  euhemerizing 
monk,  Flann  Manistrech,  Elcmar  slew  Midir  and  was  himself 
slain  by  Oengus.^  This,  however,  need  be  no  part  of  an  earlier 
myth. 

Still  another  account  is  given  in  verse  by  the  tenth  century 
poet,  Cinaed  ua  hArtacain.  Boann,  Nechtain's  wife,  came  to 
stay  with  her  brother  Elcmar,  vassal  of  Dagda,  who  sought  her 
love  in  vain.  His  Druids  advised  him  to  send  Elcmar  on  a 
mission,  but  the  latter  bargained  that  it  should  not  keep  him 
away  over  night,  whereupon  Dagda  "kept  the  sun  in  the  lofty 
ridge  of  the  heavens  till  the  end  of  nine  months."  Elcmar 
thought  that  only  a  day  had  passed,  but  on  his  return  he  saw  by 
the  change  in  the  flowers  how  long  the  time  had  been.  Mean- 
while Dagda  and  Boann  had  deceived  him,  but  now  they  were 
afraid,  and  birth-pangs  seized  the  faithless  wife.  They  left  her 
child  Oengus  by  the  road-side  near  Midir's  sid,  and  there  he 
was  brought  up  until  his  companions  jeered  at  his  unknown 
origin.  Taxed  by  Oengus,  Midir  told  the  truth,  and  taking  him 
to  Dagda's  sid,  obtained  it  for  him  for  a  day  and  a  night,  thus 
tricking  him.^ 


THE   DIVISION   OF  THE   SID  53 

Whether  the  earliest  story  told  of  Dagda's  or  of  Elcmar's 
dispossession,  Oengus  is  a  god  who  tricks  his  father  or  his  foster- 
father,  and  perhaps  the  latter  was  the  sufferer  in  the  primitive 
form.  Rhys  makes  Dagda  an  equivalent  of  Kronos  and  Oengus 
of  Zeus;  but  apart  from  the  disinheriting  incident,  which  is  not 
exactly  parallel  in  the  respective  Greek  and  Celtic  stories, ^° 
Dagda  and  Oengus  have  no  clear  traits  in  common  with  Kronos 
and  Zeus,  nor  is  there  the  slightest  evidence  that  Dagda,  like 
Kronos,  ruled  over  the  dead,  either  before  or  after  his  expul- 
sion. The  possible  basis  of  the  story,  as  the  present  writer  has 
suggested  elsewhere,  is  a  myth  explaining  why  the  cult  of  one 
god  came  to  supersede  that  of  another.^^ 


CHAPTER   IV 
MYTHIC   POWERS  OF  THE  GODS 

AS  in  most  mythologies,  the  Celtic  deities  have  powers  which 
reflect  those  supposed  to  be  possessed  by  medicine-men, 
as  well  as  others  peculiar  to  themselves.  These  were  the  subject 
of  myths  taught  by  the  Druids,  who  knew  many  things  concern- 
ing the  might  of  the  immortal  gods.'  The  gods  were  undying, 
and  their  abode  was  that  of  "the  ever-living  ones,"  where  none 
ever  died.  Caoilte  describes  the  Tuatha  De  Danann  to  St. 
Patrick  as  beings  "who  are  unfading,  and  whose  duration  is 
perennial"  in  contrast  with  himself  or  men;-  or  they  are 
"fairies  or  sprites  with  corporeal  forms,  endowed  with  immor- 
tality." Yet  immortality  is  said  to  have  been  given  them  by 
Manannan  through  their  drinking  Goibniu's  immortal  beer,  so 
that  "no  disease  nor  sickaess  ever  attacks  them,"  nor  "decay 
nor  old  age  comes  upon  them."  ^  The  daughter  of  Bodb  Dcarg 
was  asked  by  St.  Patrick  what  it  was  which  maintained  the  gods 
in  form  and  comeliness,  and  her  answer  was,  "All  such  of  us  as 
partook  of  Goibniu's  banquet,  nor  pain  nor  sickness  troubles 
them."  "^  Elsewhere  this  immortality  seems  to  be  dependent 
upon  the  eating  of  certain  fragrant  berries,  of  which  it  is  said 
that  "no  disease  attacks  those  whoeat  them,  but  they  feel  the 
exhilaration  of  wine  and  old  mead;  and  were  it  at  the  age  of  a 
century,  they  would  return  again  to  be  thirty  years  old." 
Once  the  Tuatha  De  Danann  had  played  a  match  with  the 
Feinn  and  brought  from  the  Land  of  Promise  crimson  nuts, 
catkin  apples,  and  these  fragrant  berries;  but  one  of  them  fell 
to  earth,  and  from  it  grew  a  quicken  (rowan)  tree,  whose  ber- 
ries possessed  these  virtues.   The  gods  sent  one  of  their  people 


MYTHIC  POWERS   OF  THE   GODS  55 

to  guard  the  tree  —  a  savage,  one-eyed  giant,  Searbhan  Loch- 
lannach,  who  could  not  be  slain  until  struck  with  three  blows  of 
his  iron  club;  and  around  the  tree  he  made  a  wilderness,  sleep- 
ing in  it  by  night,  and  watching  at  its  foot  by  day.  Fionn 
demanded  as  eric^  or  fine,  from  two  warriors  either  the  head 
of  Diarmaid  or  a  handful  of  these  berries;  but  Diarmaid  over- 
came them,  and  then  asked  the  giant  for  the  berries.  Searbhan 
refused  them,  but  by  skill  and  strength  the  hero  seized  his  club 
and  slew  him.^ 

Yet,  even  in  their  own  immortal  land,  gods  are  slain.  Per- 
haps this  was  not  altogether  the  result  of  the  annalistic  view  of 
the  gods,  for  myth  may  have  told  of  their  death,  as  it  did  of 
gods  elsewhere  —  Dionysus,  Attis,  Balder,  Osiris.  The  anal- 
istic  view  did  not  hinder  the  continuance  of  myths,  and  divini- 
ties whose  death  is  recorded  in  the  Annals  are  found  to  be  alive 
long  after,  while  gods  and  goddesses  born  in  pagan  times  ap- 
pear thousands  of  years  later  to  persons  living  in  the  Christian 
period.  In  spite  of  this  perennial  duration,  they  remained 
youthful  and  beautiful.  Yet  while  the  gods'  land  was  pic- 
tured as  a  deathless,  peaceful  place,  men  still  gave  it  certain  of 
the  traits  of  human  life.  War,  wounds,  and  death  were  there, 
according  to  some  stories;  gods  might  even  be  slain  by  men; 
and  as  gods  have  human  passions,  so  they  may  also  have 
human  weaknesses.    Such  is  always  the  inconsistency  of  myth. 

Invisibility  was  another  divine  power,  innate,  or  acquired  by 
donning  a  mantle,  or  from  Manannan's  spell,  Feth  Fiada,  which 
was  known  also  to  Druids,  poets,  and  Christian  saints,  who  by  it 
became  unseen  or  took  other  forms.  When  the  sons  of  Midir, 
assisted  by  the  Feinn,  fought  against  Bodb,  Midir's  son  and 
Caoilte  went  to  the  sid  of  Oengus  for  a  physician  to  heal  Oscar's 
wounds;  and  then  "there  arose  a  Fkh  Fiada  around  us,  so  that 
we  were  invisible."  In  one  passage  Dagda  is  invisible,  and  Midir 
said,  "We  behold  and  are  not  beheld."  When  Manannan 
came  to  fetch  his  consort  Fand,  none  saw  him  but  the  goddess, 

and  when  Lug  arrived  to  assist  Cuchulainn,  he  was  unseen  by 

III— c 


56  CELTIC  MYTHOLOGY 

the  hero's  foes.  Divinities  sometimes  hid  in  a  magic  mist,  as 
the  Tuatha  De  Danann  did  on  arriving  in  Ireland;  they  could 
appear  to  such  mortals  as  they  pleased,  remaining  unseen  by 
others.  Gods  were  probably  not  regarded  as  spiritual  beings. 
Like  the  dead  in  Celtic  belief,  they  had  resplendent  corporeal 
forms  and  ate  and  drank;  but  their  bodily  form  differed  from 
men's  in  that  it  could  become  invisible  and  was  not  subject  to 
the  laws  of  gravitation.  The  gods  travelled  through  the  air  or 
appeared  above  men's  heads. 

How,  then,  did  they  appear  when  visible.^  Sometimes  in  the 
magnificence  of  divinity,  yet  still  in  anthropomorphic  form. 
Sometimes  they  were  of  vast  size,  like  the  Morrigan  or  the  Welsh 
Bran,  while  a  goddess  who  sought  the  aid  of  Fionn  was  enor- 
mous compared  even  with  the  gigantic  Feinn.  Sometimes  they 
appear  merely  as  mortals  and  are  not  recognized  as  gods.  In- 
stances of  this  are  found  in  the  story  of  Cuchulainn's  birth, 
where  Lug  is  seen,  as  a  mortal  host  in  a  mysterious  house,  and 
in  that  of  Merlin's  father;  invisible  to  all  but  his  mother,  and 
later  taking  human  shape.  Sometimes  a  disguise  was  as- 
sumed. Oengus  and  Midir  appeared  to  Rib  and  Eochaid  in  the 
shape  of  hospitallers,  with  a  haltered  pack-horse,  and  bade 
them  begone.  Gods  also  took  the  appearance  of  particular 
mortals,  as  when  Midir  appeared  to  Etain  as  her  lover  Ailill, 
or  Manannan  as  Fiachna  to  the  latter's  wife,  or  as  when  Pwyll 
and  Arawn  exchanged  forms. ^ 

Animal  forms  were  also  assumed.  Of  these  one  favourite 
shape  was  that  of  birds.  Morrigan  appeared  to  Cuchulainn  as 
a  bird;  so  also  do  Devorgilla  and  her  handmaid,  the  former 
being  in  love  with  the  hero.  Llew  took  the  form  of  an  eagle; 
Budc  and  his  foster-brother  that  of  birds  when  the  former 
wished  to  visit  his  paramour,  whose  husband  Nar  slew  them. 
Midir  and  Etain,  Fand  and  Liban  were  seen  as  birds  linked 
together.  The  gods,  or  side,  appear  as  deer  in  one  story.  Again, 
the  idea  of  divine  shape-shifting,  expressed,  however,  in  the 
well-known  folk-tale  formula  of  the  "Transformation  Com- 


PLATE  VII 

Three-Headed  God 

This  triple-headed  divinity  (cf.  p.  8)  may  possibly 
be  another  form  of  Cernunnos  (see  Plate  X\I). 
For  another  representation  see  Plate  XII,  and  for  a 
three-headed  deity  of  the  Elbe  Slavs  cf.  pp.  284-85 
and  see  Plate  XXXIV,  3.  From  a  block  of  stone 
found  at  Paris,  now  in  the  Musee  Camayalet  in  that 
city. 


MYTHIC  POWERS  OF  THE  GODS  57 

bat,"  is  combined  with  the  Celtic  idea  of  rebirth  in  Welsh  and 
Irish  tales;  and  the  Welsh  story,  Hanes  Taliesin,  a  sixteenth 
century  tale,  is  based  on  earher  poems  in  which  this  formula  is 
already  prefixed  to  the  rebirth  incident.  Shape-shifting  is  so 
commonly  ascribed  to  Tahesin  that  it  is  no  wonder  that  the 
formula  was  attached  to  his  story,  as  it  also  was  to  the  Greek 
myth  of  Proteus  and  the  Hindu  story  of  Vikramaditya:  In  the 
poem  Taliesin  describes  his  transformations  and  adds, 

"I  have  been  a  grain  discovered 
Which  grew  on  a  hill  .  .  . 
A  hen  received  me 
With  ruddy  claws  and  parting  comb. 
I  rested  nine  nights 
In  her  womb  a  child."  ^ 

The  Hanes  Taliesin  represents  earlier  myths  about  the  hero 
and  Cerridwen,  the  latter  being  a  Brythonic  goddess.  Cerrid- 
wen,  who  dwelt  below  a  lake,  became  hostile  to  Gwion  Bach 
because  he  obtained  the  inspiration  which  she  had  intended  for 
her  son.  The  goddess  pursued  him,  but  he  changed  himself  to 
a  hare,  and  she  took  the  form  of  a  greyhound,  after  which  the 
pair  successively  became  fish  and  otter,  bird  and  hawk,  grain 
of  wheat  and  hen.  Cerridwen  as  a  hen  swallowed  the  grain,  and 
gave  birth  to  a  beautiful  child,  whom  she  cast  into  the  sea,  but 
he  was  rescued  by  Elphin  and  obtained  the  name  of  Taliesin.^ 

In  most  versions  of  the  Transformation  Combat  the  op- 
ponents are  males,  and  therefore  one  cannot  give  birth  to  the 
other;  but  by  an  ingenious  device  the  compiler  of  the  Irish 
myth  of  The  Two  Swine-Herds  {Cophur  in  da  muccida),  an  in- 
troductory story  to  the  Tdi7t  Bo  Cuahige,  surmounted  this  diffi- 
culty. The  swine-herds  were  subordinate  divinities  —  Friuch, 
herd  of  the  god  Bodb,  king  of  the  sid  of  Munster,  and  Rucht, 
herd  of  Ochall  Oichni,  king  of  the  sid  of  Connaught.  They 
could  take  any  shape,  and  there  was  friendship  between  them. 
When  there  was  mast  in  Munster,  Rucht  fed  his  swine  there; 
and  Friuch  brought  his  herd  to  Connaught  in  the  same  way. 


S8  CELTIC  ]\I\THOLOGY 

People  stirred  up  a  quarrel  between  them,  however,  and  Friuch 
put  spells  on  Rucht's  swine  so  that  they  should  not  eat  the  mast 
of  Alunster,  while  Rucht  did  the  same  to  Friuch's  pigs.  When 
the  swine  became  thin,  the  gods  took  their  office  from  the  herds, 
and  Friuch  and  Rucht  turned  themselves  into  ravens  and  for  a 
year  reviled  each  other  in  Connaught  and  for  a  year  in  Munster. 
Resuming  their  own  shape,  they  announced  that  there  would 
yet  be  many  corpses  and  much  wailing  because  of  them.  Now 
they  took  the  form  of  water-beasts  and  were  seen  for  a  year  in 
the  Suir  and.for  another  in  the  Shannon,  devouring  each  other, 
and  appearing  as  large  as  hills,  until  they  came  ashore  as  men, 
telling  Ochall  that  they  must  still  take  other  shapes  to  test  their 
strength.  They  became  champions,  one  of  Bodb's  host,  the 
other  of  Fergna,  King  of  the  sid  of  Nento-fo-hiuscne,  their  term 
in  this  form  ending  with  a  fight  which  lasted  three  days  and 
nights,  and  in  which  they  gave  such  wounds  that  their  lungs 
were  visible.  Next  they  became  demons,  a  third  of  the  people 
dying  with  fright  at  seeing  them;  while  in  another  version 
transformations  into  stags  and  dragons  are  added.  Finally 
they  became  worms,  one  in  a  spring  in  Connaught,  the  other  in 
the  river  Cruind  in  Ulster.  Queen  Medb  came  one  day  to  the 
spring  to  draw  water,  and  the  little  animal,  speckled  with  all 
colors,  jumped  into  her  dish.  She  spoke  to  it,  and  it  told  her 
that  it  had  been  in  many  shapes,  and  bade  her  take  Ailill  as  her 
husband,  after  which  it  returned  into  the  spring.  That  day 
Fiachna  washed  in  the  river  Cruind  and  was  frightened  at 
seeing  a  tiny  beast  which  told  him  of  the  luck  about  to  befall 
him,  and  how  it  was  Bodb's  swine-herd.  It  besought  Fiachna  to 
feed  it  for  a  year,  as  the  other  had  begged  of  JXIedb,  and  later 
it  told  him  of  a  future  combat  with  the  other  beast.  Next  day 
one  of  Fiachna's  cows  would  swallow  it  when>drinking,  as  one 
of  Mcdb's  kine  would  swallow  the  other;  and  as  a  result 
Medb's  cow  bore  Findbennach  ("White-Horn"),  and  Fiachna's 
the  Donn  or  Brown  Bull  of  Cualnge.  No  bull  dared  bellow 
before  either,  and  great  war  was  caused  in  Ireland  on  their 


MYTHIC   POWERS   OF  THE   GODS  59 

account.^  The  Dindsenchas  speaks  of  seven  shapes  which  the 
swine-herds  took,  but  describes  five  only  —  swine-herds,  birds, 
wolves,  trout,  and  worms  —  and  it  also  tells  how  a  bull-calf  of 
the  Donn's  was  killed  by  White-Horn. ^° 

A  folk-tale  analogy  to  this  myth  occurs  in  a  West  Irish  col- 
lection. Two  heroes  at  enmity  fought  until  they  were  old  men, 
then  as  puppies  until  they  were  old  dogs,  then  as  young  bulls, 
as  stallions,  and  as  birds,  until  one  was  slain,  his  body  falling 
on  the  other  and  kiUing  him.  The  rebirth  incident  is  lacking 
here.^^ 

In  the  story  which  narrates  how  King  Mongan  recovered  his 
wife  from  the  King  of  Leinster  his  feats  were  originally  those 
of  a  divine  namesake.  Taking  the  form  of  a  cleric,  he  gave 
that  of  another  cleric  to  his  attendant  and  won  entrance  to  the 
King's  fort  and  to  his  wife.  He  kissed  her,  but  when  the  at- 
tendant hag  cried  out,  he  sent  a  magic  breath  at  her,  and  what 
s.he  had  seen  was  no  longer  clear  in  her  mind,  after  which  he 
shaped  a  sharp  spike  on  which  she  fell  and  was  killed.  His  at- 
tempt to  recover  his  wife  failed,  however,  and  at  a  later  time 
he  took  the  guise  of  Aed,  son  of  the  King  of  Connaught,  trans- 
forming a  hag  into  the  shape  of  Aed's  beautiful  wife,  Ibhell. 
The  King  of  Leinster  fell  in  love  with  her.and  exchanged  Mon- 
gan's  wife  to  the  pretended  Aed  for  her;  but  the  pair  escaped, 
and  great  was  the  King's  disgust  to  find  Ibhell  in  the  form  of  a 
hag.  Mongan  also  made  a  river  with  a  bridge  over  It,  where 
none  had  ever  been  before,  and  In  it  he  set  the  two  clerics  whose 
shapes  he  had  borrowed. ^^ 

The  gods  could  likewise  transform  each  other.  Etain  was 
changed  by  Fuamnach  Into  an  insect,  as  a  preliminary  to  her 
rebirth,  and  we  have  seen  how  the  children  of  Ler  were  trans- 
formed into  swans  by  their  jealous  step-mother.  Ler  heard 
them  singing,  yet  god  though  he  was,  he  could  not  disenchant 
them,  just  as  Manannan  was  unable  to  change  Aolfe  from  the 
shape  of  a  crane  Into  which  the  jealous  luchra  had  turned  her.^^ 
The  gods  remained  for  three  hundred  years  listening  to  the 


6o  CELTIC  MYTHOLOGY 

music  of  the  swans,  which  caused  happiness  to  all  who  heard 
it;  and  after  many  sufferings  the  birds  met  the  sons  of  Bodb, 
who  spoke  to  them  of  the  divinities,  while  Fionnghula  sang  of 
her  former  happiness  when  she  enjoyed  the  guileless  teaching 
of  Alanannan,  the  convocations  of  Bodb,  the  voice  of  Oengus, 
and  the  sweetness  of  his  kisses.  We  have  seen  how  the  chil- 
dren, after  their  disenchantment,  died  in  the  Christian  faith. 
This  old  and  touching  myth  has  received  a  Christian  ending: 
how  it  originally  told  the  further  fate  of  Ler's  children  is 
unknown. 

The  gods  also  transformed  mortals.  Morrigan  brought  a 
bull  to  a  cow  over  which  Odrus  watched,  and  which  followed 
the  bull  when  Morrigan  went  into  the  cave  of  Cruachan.  Odrus 
pursued  through  the  cave  to  the  sid  within,  but  there  she  fell 
asleep,  and  the  goddess  awoke  her,  sang  spells  over  her,  and 
made  of  her  a  pool  of  water.^^  This  is  partly  paralleled  by 
another  story  in  which  elves,  or  siabhra,  transformed  Aige  into 
a  fawn  and  sent  her  round  Ireland.  Later  she  was  killed,  and 
nothing  remained  of  her  but  a  bag  of  water  which  was  thrown 
into  a  river,  thenceforward  named  after  her.^^  A  more  curious 
transformation  is  that  by  which  the  god  Oengus  changed  his 
four  kisses  into  as  many  birds,  in  order  that  they  might  satirize 
the  nobles  of  Erin,  until  a  Druid  by  a  stratagem  stopped 
them.'®  As  has  been  seen,  the  kisses  of  Oengus  were  dear  to 
Fionnghula.  The  souls  of  the  righteous  appear  sometimes  as 
white  birds,  and  those  of  the  wicked  as  ravens,  in  Christian 
documents  —  a  conception  which  is  probably  of  pagan  origin.'^ 

Finally,  to  show  how  the  memory  of  the  Tuatha  De  Danann 
and  their  powers  survived  into  later  centuries  the  story  of 
0' Donneir s  Kern  may  be  cited.  In  this,  Manannan  appears 
as  a  kern,  or  serving-man,  at  the  houses  of  historic  personages 
of  sixteenth  century  Ireland.  He  plays  such  music  as  never 
was  heard,  bewitching  men  to  slumber;  he  is  a  marvellous 
conjuror,  producing  out  of  his  bag  hound,  hare,  dog-boy,  and 
lady,  who  all  climb  a  silken  thread  which  he  tosses  upward  to  a 


MYTHIC  POWERS  OF  THE  GODS  6i 

cloud;  he  performs  miracles  of  healing;  he  takes  off  a  man's 
head  and  puts  it  on  again;  and  from  each  place  where  he  goes 
he  suddenly  disappears  from  human  sight,  none  knowing 
whither  he  has  vanished. ^^  Folk-memory  thus  preserved  much 
of  the  old  conception  of  the  gods. 


CHAPTER  V 
GODS   HELPING  MORTALS 

IN  Greek  mythology  the  gods  were  represented  as  coming  to 
man's  help,  and  in  Christian  legend  saints  were  seen  hover- 
ing above  an  army  in  battle  and  giving  it  substantial  aid.  So 
in  Celtic  myth  deities  were  often  kindly  disposed  toward  men 
or  assisted  them,  sometimes  for  ends  of  their  own. 

Such  a  myth  is  associated  with  the  historic  King  Mongan 
of  Ulster  in  the  sixth  and  seventh  centuries.  He  is  shown  to 
be  son  of  the  god  Manannan  by  a  mortal  mother,  and  as  has 
been  seen,  he  had  powers  of  shape-shifting,  and  besides  being 
brought  up  in  the  divine  land,  had  free  access  to  it.  He  was 
also  regarded  as  a  rebirth  of  the  hero  Fionn;  hence  the  stories 
told  of  this  king  of  the  Christian  historic  period  must  already 
have  been  narrated  of  some  far  earlier  mythic  king  or  god, 
perhaps  possessed  of  the  same  name.  Two  of  these  legends  nar- 
rate how  the  god  assisted  Mongan's  putative  father  out  of 
desire  for  his  wife.  In  the  shorter  story  Fiachna,  King  of  Ul- 
ster, had  gone  to  help  Aedan  in  Scotland  against  Saxon  hosts 
who  had  with  them  a  terrible  warrior,  and  during  the  fight  a 
noble  stranger  appeared  to  Fiachna's  wife  and  asked  her  love. 
She  refused  him  with  scorn,  but  later  relented  in  order  to  save 
her  husband's  life,  which,  said  the  visitant,  was  in  danger  from 
the  terrible  warrior.  "Our  son  will  be  famous,  and  his  name 
will  be  Mongan.  I  shall  tell  thy  husband  our  adventures,  and 
that  thou  didst  send  me  to  his  help."  This  the  stranger  did, 
afterward  slaying  the  warrior  and  giving  victory  to  Fiachna; 
and  when  Mongan  was  born,  he  was  known  as  Manannan's 
son,  for  Manannan  had  announced  his  name  when  leaving  the 
Queen  at  dawn.^ 


GODS  HELPING  MORTALS  63 

In  the  longer  version  Fiachna  had  become  security  for  the 
exchange  of  four  kine  offered  by  the  King  of  Lochlann  to  a 
Black  Hag  for  her  cow,  the  flesh  of  which  alone  could  cure  his 
disease.  Later  the  hag  compelled  Fiachna  to  fight  with  the 
King,  who  had  broken  his  promise  to  her;  but  all  went  well 
until  the  King  of  Lochlann  let  lOose  venomous  sheep,  before 
which  Fiachna's  men  fell  in  hundreds.  A  warrior  in  a  green 
cloak  fastened  by  a  silver  brooch,  with  a  circlet  of  gold  on  his 
head  and  golden  sandals  on  his  feet,  appeared  and  asked  what 
reward  Fiachna  would  give  him  who  would  drive  off  the  sheep. 
Fiachna  replied  that  he  would  give  anything  he  had,  whereupon 
the  warrior  begged  his  ring  "as  a  token  for  me  when  I  go  to 
Ireland  to  thy  wife  to  sleep  with  her,"  to  which  the  com- 
placent Fiachna  assented.  The  stranger  —  Manannan  —  an- 
nounced that  he  would  beget  a  glorious  child,  called  Mongan 
Finn,  or  the  "Fair";  "and  I  shall  go  there  in  thy  shape,  so 
that  thy  wife  shall  not  be  defiled  by  it."  Fiachna  would  also 
become  King  of  Lochlann.  Taking  a  venomous  hound  from 
his  cloak,  Manannan  launched  it  successfully  at  the  sheep  and 
then  appeared  to  the  Queen  as  Fiachna.  On  the  night  of  Mon- 
gan's  birth  the  Queen's  attendant  had  a  son,  Mac  an  Daimh, 
while  the  wife  of  Fiachna's  opponent,  Fiachna  the  Black,  bore 
a  daughter,  Dubh  Lacha,  these  possibly  also  being  children  of 
the  amorous  god.  When  Mongan  was  three  days  old,  Manan- 
nan took  him  to  the  Land  of  Promise  and  brought  him  back 
when  he  was  sixteen.  Meanwhile  Fiachna  Dub  having  killed 
the  other  Fiachna,  the  Ulstermen  bargained  that  Mongan 
should  retain  half  the  province,  with  Dubh  Lacha  as  his  wife. 
One  day  when  he  and  his  Queen  were  playing  together,  "a 
dark,  black-tufted  little  cleric"  reproached  Mongan  for  his 
inactivity  and  offered  to  help  him  to  regain  his  land.  Mongan 
went  with  him;  they  slew  Fiachna;  and  all  Ulster  became 
Mongan's.  The  cleric  was  Manannan,  though  his  transforma- 
tion, in  this  as  in  the  other  version,  is  the  result  of  the  revision 
of  the  story  by  a  Christian  scribe.    At  a  later  time  Mongan 


64  CELTIC  AnTHOLOGY 

exchanged  Dubh  Lacha  for  the  kinc  of  the  King  of  Leinster, 
but  she,  while  living  in  the  King's  house,  persuaded  him  to 
wait  a  year  ere  she  was  his.^  How  Mongan  regained  her  through 
his  magic  powers  learned  in  the  divine  land  has  already  been 
described.  A  prophecy  about  Mongan  is  put  into  Manannan's 
mouth  in  The  Voyage  of  Bra7i,  where  he  tells  Bran  how  he  will 
go  to  Fiachna's  Queen,  that  by  her  he  will  have  a  son  who  will 
delight  the  folk  of  the  sid,  will  make  known  secrets  and  take 
all  forms  —  dragon,  wolf,  stag,  salmon,  seal  —  and  how  the 
god  will  place  the  valiant  hero  with  princes  and  will  be  his 
tutor. 

Apart  from  the  Christian  colouring  in  these  tales,  they  are 
of  pagan  origin  and  reflect  pagan  ideas  about  semi-divine  sons 
of  gods  and  the  help  given  by  gods  to  men.  The  late  Mr.  Nutt 
maintained  that  the  story  of  Mongan  was  one  form  of  a  Celtic 
myth  which  might  be  fitted  to  any  real  or  imaginary  hero  — 
that  of  a  wonder-child,  born  of  a  mortal  mother  and  a  super- 
natural father,  gifted  magically  by  him,  associated  with  him 
in  the  divine  land,  and  passing  thence  at  death.  He  assumed 
that  Mongan  had  finally  gone  there,  basing  this  assumption  on 
verses  which  mention  Mongan's  wandering  with  Manannan 
in  "the  land  with  living  heart,"  and  his  coming  thence  to  see 
St.  Columba.  Alongan  was  the  hero  of  such  a  myth  in  Ulster; 
Fionn  of  another  local  myth,  later  popular  all  over  Ireland; 
Arthur  of  a  similar  Brythonic  myth.^ 

The  myth  of  the  help  given  by  gods  to  mortals  is  seen  again 
in  the  story  of  Cuchulainn,  son  of  the  god  Lug,  who  assists  him 
in  time  of  need.  Cuchulainn  stood  alone  against  Medb's  hosts, 
because  she  invaded  Ulster  when  its  men  were  in  their  periodic 
sickness.''  He  had  slain  hundreds  of  them  and  was  now  distorted 
with  fury  and  in  sore  distress,  when  Loeg,  his  charioteer,  an- 
nounced that  he  saw  a  warrior  approaching,  fair,  tall,  with 
yellow  hair,  clad  in  a  green  mantle  with  a  silver  brooch.  Shield, 
five-pointed  spear,  and  javelin  were  in  his  hands.  He  plied 
these  as  he  came,  but  "no  one  attacks  him  and  he  attacks  no 


GODS  HELPING  MORTALS  65 

one,"  for  he  was  invisible  to  Medb's  warriors.  Cuchulainn 
cried  that  this  must  be  one  of  his  friends  of  the  side  coming  to 
his  aid,  and  so  it  turned  out,  for  the  warrior  was  his  father 
Lug  from  the  sid.  "My  wounds  are  heavy,"  said  Cuchulainn, 
*'it  is  time  they  were  healed."  Lug  bade  him  sleep  for  three 
days  while  he  himself  fought  the  hosts;  and  as  he  sang  a  charm, 
the  hero  slept.  Lug  not  only  battled  for  him,  but  as  he  had 
claimed  the  power  of  healing  in  the  story  of  the  battle  of  Mag- 
Tured,  so  now  he  cured  his  son's  wounds  with  medicinal  herbs; 
and  when  Cuchulainn  awoke,  he  was  refreshed  and  strong.  The 
god,  however,  would  not  stay  to  help  him  further,  lest  the 
fame  of  the  deeds  wrought  by  both  should  accrue  to  Cuchulainn; 
and  the  hero  now  donned  a  dress  of  invisibility  given  him  by 
Manannan,  a  precious  garment  of  the  Land  of  Promise. 
Manannan  is  also  called  his  foster-father  in  Druidism  or  wiz- 
ardry,^ and  Cuchulainn's  "friends  of  the  side^^  may  be  com- 
pared with  the  leannan  sighe,  fairies  who  befriend  mortals  when 
human  powers  fail  them.^  His  opponent,  Ferdia,  reproached 
him  for  not  telling  him  how  his  friends  of  the  side  came  to  his 
aid  when  he  thought  of  them,  but  Cuchulainn  replied  that 
since  the  Feth  fiada  was  shown  to  all  by  the  sons  of  Mile,  the 
Tuatha  De  Danann  could  not  use  invisibility  or  work  magic. ^ 
This  passage,  however,  from  the  Stowe  manuscript  of  the 
Tain  Bo  Cualnge  is,  in  its  final  statement,  inconsistent  with  the 
incidents  of  the  other  manuscripts. 

Other  heroes  were  helped  by  Manannan.  In  The  Tragic 
Death  of  the  Sons  of  Usnech  {Longes  mac  nJJsnig)  Naisi  has  a 
sword  given  to  him  by  the  god,  its  virtue  being  that  it  leaves 
no  trace  of  stroke  or  blow  behind  it;^  and  some  of  his  weapons 
were  possessed  by  the  Feinn.  Diarmaid  had  his  crann  huidhe 
—  a  yellow-shafted  spear  —  but  its  properties  were  less  power- 
ful than  another  magic  spear  with  a  red  shaft,  the  gai  dearg. 
It  could  do  nothing  against  the  boar  which  slew  Diarmaid,  and 
he  lamented  that  he  had  not  taken  with  him  the  gai  dearg,  as 
Grainne  advised.    With  the  shafts  of  these  spears  he  twice 


66  CELTIC  MYTHOLOGY 

leaped  beyond  the  ring  of  his  surrounding  enemies  and  escaped 
them,  and  he  also  used  "Manannan's  magic  staves"  on  an- 
other occasion  to  leap  up  a  precipice.  Besides  these  he  pos- 
sessed the  moralltach,  the  sword  of  Manannan  or  of  Oengus.^ 

Of  Diarmaid  it  is  said  that  "with  most  potent  Manannan 
mac  Ler  thou  studiedst  and  wast  brought  up  in  the  Land  of 
Promise  and  in  the  bay-indented  coasts;  with  Oengus  too,  the 
Dagda's  son,  thou  wast  most  accurately  taught."  ^°  Oengus 
freely  helped  Diarmaid  when  he  and  Grainne  were  pursued  by 
Fionn.  Oengus  learned  that  they  were  surrounded  in  a  wood, 
and  passing  through  the  foe,  unknown  to  the  Feinn,  he  bade 
the  eloping  pair  come  under  his  mantle,  when  he  would  remove 
them  without  their  pursuer's  knowledge.  Diarmaid  refused  to 
go,  but  asked  the  god  to  take  Grainne,  which  Oengus  did, 
reaching  a  distant  wood  unseen.  There  Diarmaid  came  to 
them  and  found  a  fire  and  a  meal  prepared  by  Oengus,  who  ere 
he  left  them  warned  Diarmaid  of  the  places  into  which  he  must 
not  go.  When  Diarmaid  and  Grainne  took  refuge  in  the 
quicken-tree  of  Dubhros,  Oengus  came  invisibly  as  before,  but 
now  as  each  warrior  in  succession  climbed  the  tree  to  take 
Diarmaid's  head,  he  gave  them  the  hero's  form  as  he  threw 
them  down.  When  the  Feinn  cut  the  heads  off,  however,  their 
true  form  was  restored,  and  the  ruse  was  discovered.  Oengus 
would  fain  have  carried  both  away,  but  again  had  to  be  satis- 
fied with  taking  Grainne,  bearing  her  invisibly  in  his  magic 
cloak  to  the  Brug  na  Boinne,  where  Diarmaid  joined  them, 
carrying  the  head  of  the  witch  whom  Fionn  had  sent  against 
him.  Oengus  now  made  peace  between  Diarmaid  and  Fionn, 
arranging  the  conditions  which  his  foster-son  demanded. 
Finally,  when  Diarmaid's  death  was  caused  by  Fionn's  craft, 
the  latter  advised  that  he  and  the  others  should  escape  lest 
Oengus  and  the  Tuatha  De  Danann  should  capture  them. 
Oengus,  aware  of  the  tragedy,  arrived  with  the  swiftness  of  the 
wind,  and  seeing  the  body,  cried:  "There  has  never  been  one 
night,  since  I  took  thee  with  me  to  the  Brug  na  Boinne,  at  the 


GODS  HELPING  MORTALS  67 

age  of  nine  months,  that  I  did  not  watch  thee  and  carefully 
keep  thee  against  thy  foes,  until  last  night,  O  Diarmaid;  and 
alas  for  the  treachery  that  Fionn  hath  done  thee,  for  all  that 
thou  wast  at  peace  with  him."  Then  he  sang  a  lament,  and 
bearing  the  body  to  his  Brug,  he  said,  "Since  I  cannot  restore 
him  to  life,  I  will  send  a  soul  into  him,  so  that  he  may  talk  to 
me  each  day."  ^^  Oengus  has  less  power  than  savage  medicine- 
men or  gods  in  myth,  who  bring  the  dead  back  to  life,  or  than 
Demeter,  who  gave  life  to  Dionysos  after  he  was  dismembered 
by  the  Titans.  But  the  story  is  an  almost  unparalleled  example 
of  a  god's  love  for  a  mortal.  Fionn  himself  bears  witness  to  the 
love  which  Oengus  had  for  Diarmaid  as  a  child  in  his  Brug, 
and  how  when  spells  were  put  upon  a  boar  that  it  should  have 
the  same  length  of  life  as  he,  the  god  conjured  him  never  to 
hunt  a  boar.  ^2 

Another  interesting  instance  is  found  in  the  story  of  Fraoch, 
whose  mother  was  a  goddess.  When  he  killed  a  dragon,  women 
of  the  sid  came  and  carried  him  there,  curing  him  of  his  wounds; 
and  so,  too,  when  he  was  slain  at  a  ford  by  Cuchulainn,  those 
divine  women,  clad  in  green,  came  and  lamented  over  him  and 
carried  his  body  into  the  sid.  Fraoch  should  not  have  gone 
near  water,  for  this  was  dangerous  for  him,  and  his  mother's 
sister,  the  goddess  Boann,  had  said,  "Let  him  not  swim  Black 
Water,  for  in  it  he  will  shed  his  blood."  ^^  In  another  story  the 
goddess  Morrigan  helped  Tulchainde,  Conaire's  Druid,  who 
wished  Dil,  daughter  of  Lugmannair,  to  elope  with  him  from 
the  Isle  of  Falga  —  the  Isle  of  Man  regarded  as  the  divine  land. 
Dil  loved  an  ox  born  at  the  same  time  as  herself  and  insisted 
that  Tulchainde  should  take  it  with  her;  and  the  Morrigan 
was  friendly  to  him  and  at  his  wish  brought  it  to  Mag  mBreg." 
The  Morrigan  was  both  hostile  and  friendly  to  Cuchulainn, 
thus  resembling  that  supernatural  but  ambiguous  personage, 
the  Lady  of  the  Lake  in  Arthurian  tradition,  now  helping,  now 
opposing. 


CHAPTER   VI 
DIVINE    ENMITY    AND    PUNISHMENT 

THE  gods  were  sometimes  hostile  to  men,  not  always  for 
obvious  reasons,  as  is  curiously  illustrated  in  the  Echtra 
Nerai,  or  Adventures  of  Nera,  an  introductory  tale  to  the  Tain 
Bo  Cualnge.  Here  the  gods  are  regarded  as  demons  appearing 
with  great  power  on  Samhain  Eve  (Hallowe'en).  King  Ailill 
offered  a  reward  to  anyone  who  on  that  night  would  tie  a  withe 
round  the  foot  of  a  captive  hanged  the  previous  day;  and  sev- 
eral tried,  but  were  afraid.  Nera  was  bolder,  but  his  withe  kept 
springing  off  the  corpse  until  it  told  him  to  put  a  peg  in  it,  after 
which  the  dead  body  asked  him  to  carry  it  on  his  back  to  the 
nearest  house  for  a  drink,  because  "I  was  thirsty  when  I  was 
hanged."  The  house  was  surrounded  by  a  fiery  lake,  and  into 
it  and  a  second,  surrounded  by  a  lake  of  water,  they  could  not 
enter.  In  a  third  house  the  corpse  found  water  and  squirted  it 
on  the  faces  of  the  sleepers  so  that  they  died,  after  which  Nera 
carried  the  dead  body  to  the  gallows.  This  part  of  the  story 
is  connected  with  the  vampire  belief.  Nera  returned  to  Ailill's 
fort,  but  found  it  burnt,  and  a  heap  of  human  heads  lay  near 
it.  He  followed  a  company  leaving  it  and  thus  came  to  the  sid 
of  Cruachan,  where  its  king  sent  him  to  a  woman  in  one  of  its 
dwellings,  bidding  him  bring  firewood  daily  to  the  royal  house. 
At  this  task  he  noticed  a  lame  man  carrying  a  blind  man  to  a 
well,  and  daily  the  blind  man  asked,  "Is  it  there.-*"  to  which 
the  lame  man  answered,  "It  is  indeed;  let  us  go  away."  The 
woman  told  Nera  that  they  were  guardians  of  the  king's  crown 
in  the  well,  and  when  he  described  his  adventures  and  the  de- 
struction of  Ailill's  fort,  she  explained  that  this  was  merely  the 


DIVINE   ENMITY  AND   PUNISHMENT  69 

glamour  of  an  elfin  host  {sluag  siabhra),  but  that  it  would  hap- 
pen, unless  he  warned  his  friends.  When  he  returned,  he  would 
find  them  as  he  left  them  —  a  clear  proof  that  he  was  in  a  time- 
less region.  They  must  watch  next  Samhain  Eve,  unless  they 
first  destroyed  the  sid,  and  as  proof  of  his  statement  he  must 
take  from  the  sid  fruits  of  summer  —  wild  garlic,  primrose, 
and  golden  fern.  Before  his  people  came  to  destroy  the  sid,  he 
must  warn  her  so  that  she  with  his  cattle  and  the  child  she 
would  bear  him  might  not  lose  their  lives.  Nera  returned  and 
obtained  the  reward,  and  Ailill  resolved  to  destroy  the  sid. 
Meanwhile  the  woman  carried  the  firewood,  pretending  that 
Nera  was  ill;  and  when  he  came  to  warn  her,  she  bade  him 
watch  the  cattle,  one  of  which  was  to  be  his  son's  after  his 
birth.  The  goddess  Morrigan  stole  this  cow  while  Nera  slept 
and  took  it  to  the  bull  of  Cualnge,  by  whom  it  had  a  calf. 
Cuchulainn  is  now  introduced  pursuing  Morrigan  and  restor- 
ing the  cow;  and  on  its  return  the  woman  sent  Nera  back  to 
his  people  —  a  reduphcation  of  the  first  sending  back.  The 
sid-iolk  could  not  destroy  Ailill's  fort  until  next  Samhain  Eve 
when  the  sid  would  be  open,  and  Nera  now  told  his  people  of 
the  wonderful  sid  and  how  its  dwellers  were  coming  to  attack 
the  fort.  Ailill  bade  him  bring  anything  of  his  own  out  of  the 
sid,  and  from  it  he  fetched  the  cattle,  including  his  child's  bull- 
calf  which  now  fought  the  famous  Findbennach,  or  white- 
horned  bull.  Warned  to  beware  of  its  sire,  the  bull  of  Cualnge, 
Medb  swore  by  her  gods  that  she  would  not  rest  until  her  bull 
fought  it.  Meanwhile  Ailill's  men  destroyed  the  sid,  taking 
from  it  the  crown,  Loegaire's  mantle,  and  Dunlaing's  shirt; 
but  Nera  was  left  in  the  sid  and  will  not  come  thence  till  doom 
—  like  other  mortals,  he  has  become  an  inhabitant  of  the 
gods'  land.^  Here  also,  as  in  the  story  of  Etain,  mortals  wage 
successful  war  with  hostile  divinities.  Nevertheless  the  deities 
survive,  and  only  the  outer  works  of  their  sid  are  destroyed. 

The  hostility  of  Morrigan  to  the  hero  Cuchulainn  is  seen  in 
the  Tain  Bo  Regamna,  or  Cattle-Raid  of  Regamon.   In  his  sleep 


70  CELTIC  AIYTHOLOGY 

he  heard  a  great  cry,  and  setting  off  with  his  charioteer  Loeg 
to  discover  its  meaning,  they  came  to  a  chariot  drawn  by  a 
one-legged  horse,  the  chariot-pole  passing  through  its  body  and 
emerging  from  its  head.  On  it  was  a  red  woman,  clad  in  red, 
and  near  it  marched  a  giant  in  a  red  tunic,  carrying  a  spear 
and  a  huge  forked  branch,  and  driving  a  cow.  Cuchulainn 
maintained  that  all  the  cows  In  Ulster  were  his,  but  the  woman 
denied  this,  and  when  he  asked  why  she  spoke  for  the  man,  she 
announced  that  his  name  was  Uar-gaeth-sceo  Luachair-sceo. 
Then  the  giant  cried  out  that  her  name  was  Faebor  beg-beoil 
cuimdiuir  folt  scenbgairit  sceo  uath.  Irritated  at  this  gibber- 
ish —  an  Instance  of  the  well-known  concealment  of  divine 
names  —  the  hero  leaped  into  the  chariot,  placing  his  feet  on 
the  woman's  shoulders  and  his  spear  at  her  head,  and  de- 
manded her  true  name,  to  which  she  replied  that  she  was  a 
sorceress  and  that  the  cow  was  her  reward  for  a  poem.  Cuchu- 
lainn begged  to  hear  it,  and  the  woman  consented,  provided 
that  he  would  retire  from  the  chariot.  After  the  poem  was  re- 
cited, Cuchulainn  prepared  to  leap  again  into  the  chariot,  when 
woman,  giant,  cow,  and  chariot  vanished;  but  on  the  branch 
of  a  tree  was  a  black  bird  —  the  woman  changed  to  this  form. 
Now  he  recognized  her  as  Badb  or  the  Morrigan,  the  battle- 
goddess,  and  she  told  him  that  for  his  conduct  she  would  pur- 
sue him  with  vengeance.  She  was  carrying  the  cow  from  the 
sid  of  Cruachan,  that  it  might  be  covered  by  the  bull  of  Cualnge 
and  when  their  calf  was  a  year  old,  Cuchulainn  would  die. 
She  would  attack  him  when  facing  his  opponent  at  the  ford 
during  the  foray  of  Cualnge,  and  as  an  eej  she  would  twine 
round  his  feet.  "I  will  crush  thee  against  the  stones  of  the 
ford,  and  thou  wilt  never  obtain  healing  from  me,"  answered 
Cuchulainn.  "As  a  she-wolf  I  will  bite  thy  right  hand  and 
devour  thee,"  she  replied.  "I  shall  strike  thee  with  my  lance 
and  put  out  an  eye,  and  never  wilt  thou  obtain  healing  from 
me,"  he  returned.  "As  a  white  cow  with  red  ears  I  will  enter 
the  water,  followed  by  a  hundred  cows.    We  shall  dash  upon 


DIVINE   ENMITY  AND   PUNISHMENT  71 

thee.  Thou  wilt  fall,  and  thy  head  will  be  taken."  "I  shall 
throw  a  sling-stone  at  thee,  and  thy  heel  shall  be  broken,  and 
no  help  wilt  thou  get  from  me,"  cried  Cuchulainn;  and  with 
that  Morrigan  disappeared  into  the  sid  of  Cruachan.^ 

In  a  variant  of  this  tale  (where  the  cow-driving  incident  is 
perhaps  the  one  which  is  mentioned  in  the  Echtra  Nerai)  a. 
different  reason  for  this  hostility  is  given.  Morrigan  appeared 
as  a  beautiful  woman  offering  Cuchulainn  her  love,  her  treas- 
ures, and  her  herds,  but  he  replied  that  the  opportunity  was 
not  fitting,  since  he  was  engaged  in  a  desperate  contest,  and 
contemptuously  refused  her  help.  She  uttered  threats  as  in 
the  previous  version;  and  when  he  was  fighting  at  the  ford,  he 
was  overturned  by  an  eel  which  he  crushed  in  his  hand,  and 
again  as  a  wolf  and  a  heifer  Morrigan  was  defeated.  Now  no 
one  wounded  by  Cuchulainn  could  be  healed  save  by  himself, 
and  Morrigan  therefore  appeared  as  a  lame  and  blind  old 
woman  milking  a  cow  with  three  teats.  Cuchulainn  asked  for 
milk,  which  she  gave  him  from  each  teat,  and  at  every  draught 
he  pronounced  the  blessing  of  "gods  and  not-gods"^  upon 
her.  At  each  benediction  one  of  her  wounds  was  healed,  and 
now  she  revealed  herself,  but  was  told  that,  had  he  known,  she 
would  never  have  had  healing  from  him.^  Perhaps  because  of 
this  healing,  or  because  of  a  subsequent  reconcilement,  before 
Cuchulainn  went  to  the  last  fatal  fight,  the  goddess  broke  his 
chariot,  "for  she  liked  not  his  going  to  the  battle,  knowing 
that  he  would  not  come  again  to  Emain  Macha."  ^  The  story 
also  shows  how  divinities  have  the  gift  of  shape-shifting, 
though  it  does  not  always  avail  them  against  the  prowess  of  a 
hero. 

The  idea  that  gods  punish  neglect  of  their  worship  or  com- 
mands, or  avenge  other  sinful  actions,  is  found  in  most  reli- 
gions, and  some  stories  seem  to  be  derived  from  it,  as  when 
Welsh  legend  knows  of  Nynnyaw  and  Peibaw  transformed  to 
oxen  for  their  sins  by  God  —  a  probable  substitution  for  a 

pagan  divinity.^   Instances  of  the  destruction  of  corn  and  milk 
in — 6 


72  CELTIC  MYTHOLOGY 

by  divinities  have  been  cited,  and  these  perhaps  signify  pun- 
ishment for  neglecting  the  gods,  seeing  that,  in  the  case  of  the 
Milesians  with  Dagda,  this  was  followed  by  a  compact  made 
with  him  —  the  equivalent  of  the  fresh  covenant  made  with 
God  by  His  careless  worshippers  in  the  Old  Testament.  Pos- 
sibly stories  like  that  of  Aillen  mac  Midhna  of  the  Tuatha  De 
Danann,  coming  out  of  the  sid  every  year  to  burn  Tara,^  point 
to  the  same  conception.  The  gods  even  punished  members  of 
their  own  group  for  wrongdoing,  as  in  the  case  of  Aoife,  who 
was  transformed  by  Bodb;  and  Becuma  was  banished  from 
the  gods'  land  because  of  her  sin  with  Manannan's  son.  She 
came  to  earth  in  a  self-moving  boat  and  by  spells  bound  Conn, 
high  king  of  Ireland,  to  do  her  will  and  to  banish  his  son  Art; 
but  while  she  remained  in  dalliance  with  Conn  for  a  year,  there 
was  neither  corn  nor  milk  in  Ireland  —  a  direct  divine  punish- 
ment, for  it  was  held  that  an  evil  king's  reign  was  marked  by 
famine  and  destruction.  The  Druids  told  Conn  that  nothing 
would  avail  save  the  sacrifice  of  "the  son  of  a  sinless  couple," 
i.  e.  the  son  of  the  queen  of  a  divine  land,  whom  Conn  brought 
thence.  To  rescue  the  boy  his  mother  came  with  a  marvellous 
cow,  which  was  accepted  as  a  sacrifice,  while  the  queen  told 
Conn  that  he  must  renounce  Becuma,  else  Ireland  would  lose 
a  third  of  its  corn  and  milk.  Later,  when  the  sid-io\k  stole  the 
chess-men  with  which  Becuma  was  playing  with  Art,  she  put 
spells  on  him  not  to  eat  until  he  had  brought  Delbchaem  from 
a  mysterious  island,  intending  thus  to  cause  his  death.  He 
sailed  till  he  reached  an  Elysian  island,  whose  fair  women 
taught  him  how  to  escape  the  dangers  before  him  and  to  find 
Delbchaem;  but  when  he  brought  her  to  Tara,  Becuma  in 
disgust  left  Conn  for  ever.^  Punishment  of  a  divine  bei'ng  is  also 
seen  in  the  story  of  Manannan's  slaying  Fer  Fedall  because  of 
his  misdeed,  which  resulted  in  the  drowning  of  Tuag.^  Con- 
chean  slew  Dagda's  son  Aed  for  seducing  his  wife,  and  though 
Dagda  did  not  kill  him,  he  made  him  carry  the  corpse  until 
he  found  a  stone  as  long  as  Aed  to  put  upon  his  grave. ^° 


PLATE   VIII 
Squatting  God 

The  deity  has  torques  on  his  neck  and  lap,  and 
IS  encircled  by  two  serpents  with  rams'  heads. 
Traces  of  horns  appear  on  his  head.  He  may 
possibly  be  a  form  of  Cernunnos  (see  Plate  XVI), 
and  would  thus  be  a  divinity  of  the  under- 
world. From  an  altar  found  at  Autun,  Saone-et- 
Loire.  For  a  representation  on  a  Gaulish  coin  see 
Plate  III,  3;  cf.  also  Plates  IX,  XXV. 


^^^J^^^^^T^tt 


\)'!''-:A^m^\ 


V  ^s 


^  z 


'■:^m^^^^''-^: 


DIVINE   ENMITY  AND   PUNISHMENT  73 

Trespass  on  a  sacred  place  Is  implied  In  the  story  of  Eochald, 
who  eloped  with  his  step-mother.  Oengus,  In  disguise,  told 
him  not  to  camp  on  his  meadow;  and  when  he  persisted,  the 
god  sent  plagues  upon  him,  killing  his  cattle  and  horses,  and 
threatening  to  slay  his  household  If  he  would  not  go.  Oengus 
then  gave  him  a  horse  on  which  to  depart  with  his  goods,  and 
the  lake  which  was  formed  afterward  from  the  bursting  of  an 
uncovered  well  produced  by  the  micturatlon  of  this  horse 
drowned  Eochald  and  all  his  household,  save  his  daughter 
LIban.  This,  as  well  as  the  similar  story  told  of  Eochald's 
brother  Rib,  who  trespassed  on  the  ground  of  Oengus  and 
MIdIr,  has  afhnlty  with  tales  of  the  bursting  of  a  sacred  well 
upon  the  Impious  trespasser,  as  In  the  legend  of  Boann.^^ 

In  another  story  OillU  pastured  his  cattle  on  the  exterior  of  a 
sid,  the  grass  of  which  the  sid-iolk  now  destroyed.  While 
OillU  watched  there  with  Ferchess,  he  saw  fairy  cattle  leaving 
the  sid,  followed  by  Eogabal,  son  of  its  King,  and  his  daughter 
Aine.  Eogabal  was  slain  by  Ferchess,  and  AIne  was  outraged 
by  Ollill,  but  she  struck  his  right  ear,  leaving  no  flesh  on  it, 
whence  his  epithet  "Bare  Ear."  Aine  promised  vengeance, 
which  was  wrought  thus.  Eogan,  OiliU's  son,  and  Lugald 
mac  Con  heard  music  proceeding  from  a  yew  formed  by  magic 
as  part  of  the  means  employed  for  vengeance,  and  in  It 
was  found  a  little  harper,  who  was  brought  by  them  to  Ollill. 
Before  he  went  away,  however,  he  made  contention  between 
Eogan  and  Lugald;  the  latter  was  slain,  and  this  caused  the 
battle  of  Mag  Mucrime,  where  OiliU's  seven  sons  perished. ^^ 
In  this  story  gods  are  within  men's  power,  though  the  latter 
cannot  finally  escape  punishment.  So  also  is  it  in  the  tale  of 
Macha,  "sun  of  women-folk,"  daughter  of  MIdir,  or  of  Salnred, 
son  of  Ler,  who  came  to  the  house  of  the  rich  peasant,  Cronn- 
chu,  and  served  him,  bringing  him  prosperity  and  living  with 
him  as  his  wife.  Cronnchu  went  to  a  feast  of  the  Ulstermen, 
but  was  bidden  by  Macha  not  to  say  an  imprudent  word  or 
mention  her  name.    At  the  horse-racing,  however,  he  boasted 


74  CELTIC  MYTHOLOGY 

that  his  wife  was  swifter  than  the  horses,  whereupon  King 
Conchobar  insisted  that  she  should  be  sent  for,  and  though 
she  was  with  child,  forced  her  to  run  against  his  chariot.  She 
said  that  all  who  saw  It  would  suffer  for  the  deed,  and  when  at 
the  goal  she  gave  birth  to  twins,  she  condemned  every  Ulster- 
man  to  undergo  for  five  days  and  four  nights  each  year  all  the 
pangs  which  she  had  felt,  and  to  have  no  strength  during  that 
time.    Cuchulainn  alone  escaped  the  curse. ^^ 

The  automatic  working  out  of  punishment  is  seen  In  the 
tragic  results  of  the  breaking  of  personal  tabus,  e.  g.  In  the  case 
of  Cuchulainn  and  Flonn.^^  This  Is  sometimes  regarded  as  the 
inevitable  operation  of  fate  or  as  divine  vengeance  for  wrong 
done  to  gods,  not  necessarily  by  the  victim,  and  It  receives 
its  most  mysterious  Illustration  In  the  doom  of  Conaire  Mor  in 
the  long  tale  of  Da  Derga's  Hostel.  In  some  versions  Conalre's 
origin  is  connected  with  Incest  —  itself  caused  by  a  vengeful 
god  —  while  his  death  at  the  height  of  his  prosperity  Is  re- 
garded as  the  consequence  of  injury  done  by  his  ancestor  to 
the  god  MIdir,  whose  wife  Etain  was  retaken  from  him  by 
Conalre's  forefather  Eochaid.^^  Through  a  trick  of  Midlr's, 
Eochald  had  a  child,  Mess  Buachalla,  by  his  daughter  Ess, 
and  Mess  Buachalla  was  mother  of  Conaire.  Who,  then,  was 
Conalre's  father.^  One  account  regards  him  as  King  Eterscel, 
while  Mess  Buachalla  is  here  daughter  of  Ess  and  one  of  the 
side,  or  of  Ess  and  Eterscel  —  the  latter  version  thus  intro- 
ducing the  incest  incident  in  another  form.  Another  account 
tells  how  Eochald  married  Etain,  daughter  of  Etar,  King  of 
the  cavalcade  from  the  sid;  and  their  daughter  Etain  became 
Cormac's  wife,  but  was  put  away  because  she  bore  him  no  son. 
Cormac  ordered  his  Infant  daughter  to  be  slain,  but  she  smiled 
so  sweetly  on  his  thralls  that  they  took  her  to  King  Eterscel's 
cowherds,  who  guarded  her  in  a  hut  with  a  roof-light,  whence 
her  name  Mess  Buachalla,  or  "the  Cowherds'  Foster-Child." 
Through  the  roof-light  Eterscel's  people  saw  her  when  she  was 
grown  up,  and  told  the  king  of  her  beauty.   Now  It  was  proph- 


DIVINE   ENMITY  AND   PUNISHMENT  75 

esied  that  he  would  have  a  son  by  a  woman  of  unknown  race, 
but  before  he  sent  for  her,  a  bird  flew  through  the  roof-light, 
and  dofhng  its  plumage,  became  a  man,  to  whom  Mess  Buach- 
alla  yielded  herself.  Before  leaving  her  he  told  how  she  would 
have  a  son,  Conaire,  by  him,  who  must  never  hunt  birds;  and 
Conaire  was  regarded  as  Eterscel's  child  when  born.  At 
Eterscel's  death  the  new  king  was  to  be  selected  by  divination 
at  the  "bull-feast."  A  bull  was  killed,  probably  as  a  sacrifice, 
and  after  the  diviner  had  eaten  its  flesh,  he  dreamed  of  the 
future  king  —  In  this  case  a  naked  man  with  a  sling  coming  to 
Tara.  Meanwhile  Conaire  hunted  a  flock  of  wonderful  birds, 
which  suddenly  became  armed  men,  one  of  them  telling  him 
that  he  was  Nemglan,  King  of  the  birds,  his  father,  and  that 
he  was  breaking  his  geasa  (tabus)  in  hunting  his  kinsmen. 
Conaire  replied  that  he  knew  nothing  of  this  gets,  whereupon 
Nemglan  bade  him  go  naked  toward  Tara,  where  watchers 
would  meet  him.  In  this  incident  there  is  doubtless  some  dim 
memory  of  clan  totem-myths. 

A  different  account  of  his  becoming  king  makes  Mess 
Buachalla  tell  him  for  the  first  time  who  his  father  is,  viz. 
Eterscel,  her  own  father,  when  he  had  just  died.  His  succes- 
sor must  fulfil  certain  apparently  impossible  conditions,  but 
Conaire  met  the  terms  and  became  king.  Mysterious  hosts 
brought  to  him  by  his  mother  stayed  with  him  for  a  time  and 
then  departed,  none  knew  whither;  they  were  side  from  Bri 
Leith,  Midir's  sid}^  This  appears  to  mean  that  Conaire  was 
divinely  assisted  to  become  king,  so  that  the  approaching  dis- 
aster might  be  all  the  greater. 

To  return  to  the  other  account,  Nemglan  told  Conaire  the 
geasa  which  he  must  observe.  He  became  king,  and  none  ever 
had  a  more  prosperous  reign;  plenty  abounded,  and  murder 
and  rapine  were  banished.  At  last,  however,  the  vengeance 
of  the  god  began  to  work.  Through  a  fate  which  he  could  not 
resist  Conaire  one  day  settled  a  quarrel  between  two  of  his 
serfs,  thus  breaking  one  of  the  geasa,  and  on  his  return  he  saw 


76  CELTIC  MYTHOLOGY 

the  whole  country  in  flame  and  smoke  —  a  delusion  of  the 
side.  To  avoid  the  fire  he  and  his  men  went  sunwise  round 
Tara  and  counter-clockwise  round  Brcgia.  These  were  tabued 
directions;  and  as  he  went,  he  pursued  the  evil  beasts  of  Cerna, 
disobeying  another  tabu.  Then,  belated,  he  resolved  to  stay  in 
the  hostel  of  Derga  ("Red"),  and  three  red-haired  horsemen 
clad  in  red  and  on  red  steeds  ^^  were  seen  preceding  him  to  the 
house  of  Red  —  another  of  his  geasa.  He  sent  messengers  after 
them  begging  them  to  fall  behind,  but  they  only  went  the 
faster  and]  announced:  "We  ride  the  steeds  of  Donn  Tet- 
scorach  (Midir's  son)  from  the  sid.  Though  we  are  alive,  we 
are  dead.  Great  are  the  signs.  Destruction  of  life.  Sating  of 
ravens.  Feeding  of  crows.  Strife  of  slaughter.  Wetting  of 
sword-edge.  Shields  with  broken  bosses  in  hours  after  sun- 
down. Lo,  my  son!"  With  this  boding  prophecy  they  van- 
ished, and  the  gods  themselves  thus  caused  the  violation  of 
Conaire's  geasa.  After  arriving  at  the  hostel  he  broke  yet  an- 
other, for  there  came  a  hideous  woman  who,  standing  on  one 
foot,  holding  up  one  hand,  and  casting  an  evil  eye  on  Conaire 
and  his  men,  foretold  their  doom.  Then  she  begged  to  be  taken 
in,  appealing  to  Conaire's  generosity,  and  he  said,  "Let  her 
in,  though  it  is  a  geis  of  mine." 

At  this  time  Ingcel,  whose  single  eye  had  three  pupils,  in- 
vaded Ireland  with  Conaire's  foster-brothers,  and  they  were 
now  on  their  way  to  attack  the  hostel.  Ingcel  is  described  as 
going  toward  it  to  spy  upon  the  inmates,  returning  with  ever 
fresh  reports  of  the  wonders  and  the  people  seen  by  him,  some 
of  them  gigantic  and  monstrous,  with  magic  weapons.  When 
the  hostel  was  surrounded,  a  terrible  battle  began.  Conaire 
was  parched  with  thirst,  but  no  water  was  to  be  obtained, 
though  his  ally  MacCecht  sought  it  in  all  Ireland.  Lakes  and 
rivers  had  been  dried  up,  apparently  by  the  gods,  as  at  the  first 
battle  of  Mag-Tured,  and  one  loch  alone  was  reached  before  its 
water  disappeared.  MacCecht  returned  with  a  draught,  but 
all  too  late.    Conaire's  host  was  scattered  and  dead,  and  he 


DIVINE   ENMITY  AND   PUNISHMENT  -Ji 

himself  was  being  decapitated  by  two  of  his  foes,  whom  Mac- 
Cecht  slew,  and  then  poured  the  water  into  Conaire's  mouth. 
The  head  thanked  him  for  his  act,  and  thus  perished  Conaire, 
through  no  fault  of  his  own,  victim  of  fate  and  of  a  god's  ven- 
geance.^^ The  story  is  as  tragic  as  a  Greek  drama,  if  its  art  is 
less  consummate. 


CHAPTER    VII 
THE    LOVES   OF   THE    GODS 

LIKE  the  gods  of  Greece  and  India,  the  deities  of  the  Celts 
had  many  love  adventures,  and  the  stories  concerning 
these  generally  have  a  romantic  aspect.  An  early  tale  of  this 
class  records  that  one  night,  as  Oengus  slept,  he  saw  a  beau- 
tiful maiden  by  his  bed-side.  He  would  have  caught  hold  of 
her,  but  she  vanished,  and  until  next  night  he  was  restless  and 
ill.  Again  she  appeared,  singing  and  playing  on  a  cymbal,  and 
so  it  continued  for  a  year  till  Oengus  was  sick  of  love.  Fergne, 
a  cunning  leech,  diagnosed  the  cause  of  his  patient's  illness 
and  bade  Boann,  Gengus's  mother,  search  all  Ireland  for  the 
maiden,  but  though  she  sought  during  a  whole  year,  the  girl 
could  not  be  found.  Fergne  therefore  bade  Boann  summon 
Dagda,  Gengus's  father,  and  he  advised  him  to  ask  the  help 
of  Bodb,  King  of  the  side  of  Munster,  famed  for  knowledge. 
Bodb  discovered  the  maiden,  and  Gengus  set  out  to  see  whether 
he  could  recognize  her.  By  the  sea  they  found  many  girls, 
linked  two  and  two  by  silver  chains;  and  one,  taller  than  the 
rest,  was  the  maiden  of  the  vision,  Caer,  daughter  of  Ethal  of 
sid  Uaman.  Dagda,  advised  by  Bodb,  sought  help  from  Ailill 
and  Medb,  King  and  Queen  of  Connaught  —  another  instance 
of  mortals  aiding  gods;  but  Ethal  refused  Ailill's  request  to 
give  up  Caer,  whereupon  Dagda's  army  with  Ailill's  forces 
destroyed  his  sid  and  took  him  prisoner.  Still  he  refused,  be- 
cause he  had  no  power  over  his  daughter,  for  every  second 
year  she  and  her  maidens  took  the  form  of  birds  at  Loch  Bel 
Draccan  (the  "Lake  of  the  Dragons'  Mouths");  and  thither 
Dagda  bade  Gengus  go.    At  this  loch,  says  incidental  refer- 


THE  LOVES  OF  THE  GODS  79 

ence  to  the  story,  the  maidens  were  wont  to  remain  all  the 
year  of  their  transformation,  Caer  as  the  most  lovely  of  all 
birds,  wearing  a  golden  necklace,  from  which  hung  an  hundred 
and  fifty  chains,  each  with  a  golden  ball.^  When  Oengus  saw 
the  birds,  he  called  to  Caer.  "Who  calls  me?"  she  cried.  "It 
is  Oengus  that  calls  thee;  come  to  him  that  he  may  bathe  with 
thee."  The  bird-maiden  came,  and  Oengus  also  took  the  form 
of  a  bird.  Together  they  plunged  three  times  in  the  lake,  and 
then  flew  to  Brug  na  Boinne,  singing  so  sweetly  that  everyone 
fell  asleep  for  three  days  and  nights.  Caer  now  became  Oen- 
gus's  wife.2 

In  this  story  the  god  Bodb  is  famed  for  knowledge,  and  in 
the  incidental  reference  cited  he  is  said  for  a  whole  year  to  have 
kept  off  by  his  magic  power  the  harper  Cliach,  who  sought  his 
daughter's  hand.^  Possibly  the  shape-shifting  of  Caer  and  her 
maidens  was  the  result  of  a  curse  or  spell,  as  in  other  instances, 
unless  —  being  goddesses  —  the  power  was  in  their  own  hands. 
The  myth  uses  the  folk-tale  formula  of  the  Swan-Maiden, 
though  its  main  Incident  Is  lacking,  viz.  her  capture  by  obtain- 
ing the  bird-dress,  which  she  has  doffed. 

In  the  story  of  Oengus's  disinheriting  Elcmar,  he  later  ap- 
pears as  a  suitor  for  Etain,  daughter  of  Ailill,  who  refused  her 
to  him;  but  Midir  was  more  successful,  whence  there  was 
enmity  between  him  and  Oengus.  The  long  tale  which  follows 
is  extant  in  several  manuscripts  and  Is  here  pieced  together 
mainly  from  the  versions  in  the  Egerton  Manuscript  and  the 
Leabhar  na  hUidre.  Besides  Etain,  Midir  had  another  consort, 
Fuamnach,  who  was  jealous  of  her.  With  the  help  of  a  Druid's 
spells  and  by  her  own  sorceries  she  changed  Etain  Into  an  In- 
sect and  by  a  magic  wind  blew  her  about  for  seven  years;  but 
Oengus  found  her  in  this  state  and  made  for  her  a  grianan,  or 
bower  filled  with  shrubs  and  flowers,  on  which  she  fed  and 
thrived.  Perhaps  by  night  she  was  able  to  resume  her  true 
form,  for  Oengus  slept  with  her;  and  when  Fuamnach  heard 
of  this,  she  caused  Midir  to  send  for  Oengus,  so  that  a  recon- 


8o  CELTIC  MYTHOLOGY 

ciliation  might  be  effected.  Meanwhile,  however,  Fuamnach 
went  to  the  grianan  and  again  by  a  magic  wind  ejected  Etain, 
who  was  blown  upon  the  breeze  until  she  fell  through  the  roof 
of  Etair's  house  into  his  wife's  golden  cup.  She  swallowed  the 
insect  and  later  gave  birth  to  the  divinity  as  an  infant  called 
Etain,  who,  more  than  a  thousand  years  before,  had  been  bom 
as  a  goddess.  When  she  now  grew  up,  as  she  and  her  maidens 
were  bathing,  a  warrior  appeared,  singing  about  Etain,  and 
then  vanished,  this  being  Midir,  or  possibly  Oengus,  who  had 
discovered  Fuamnach's  treachery  and  struck  off  her  head. 
Here,  however,  is  interpolated  a  verse  telling  how  not  Oengus 
but  Manannan  slew  or  burned  her,  as  well  as  her  grandson, 
Siugmall.'' 

The  next  section  of  the  story  exists  in  two  forms  and  relates 
how  Etain  was  married  by  Eochaid  Airem,  King  of  Ireland. 
His  brother,  Ailill  Anglonnach,  fell  in  love  with  her,  and  when 
at  last  he  disclosed  this  to  Etain,  she,  after  much  persuasion, 
arranged  a  meeting-place  with  him.  At  the  appointed  time 
however,  Ailill  did  not  come,  being  hindered  by  sleep;  but  one 
in  his  likeness  appeared  to  Etain  on  successive  occasions  and 
at  last  announced  himself  to  be  Midir,  who  had  thus  dealt  with 
Ailill,  and  told  her  how  she  was  his  consort,  parted  from  him 
by  magic.  Nevertheless,  she  refused  to  go  with  him;  but 
when  she  told  Ailill,  he  was  cured  of  his  love.  The  Egerton 
version  then  relates  how  Midir,  appearing  in  hideous  form, 
carried  off  Etain  and  her  handmaid  Crochan  to  his  sid  of  Bri 
Leith,  near  the  rising  of  the  sun,  first  staying  on  the  way  at  the 
sid  of  his  divine  relative  Sinech;  and  when  Crochan  com- 
plained of  wasting  time  there,  Midir  said  that  this  sid  would 
now  bear  her  name. 

In  the  version  given  by  the  Leabhar  na  hUidre  the  incident  of 
Midir's  disclosing  himself  is  more  mythical  in  character.  He 
invited  Etain  to  the  gods'  land,  "the  Great  Plain,"  or  Mag 
Mor  —  a  marvellous  land,  wherein  is  music.  Its  people  are 
graceful,  and  nothing  is  called  "mine"  or  "thine."  The  plains 


THE  LOVES  OF  THE  GODS  8i 

of  Ireland  are  fair,  but  fairer  is  this  plain,  its  ale  more  intoxi- 
cating than  that  of  Erin!  There  is  choice  of  mead  and  wine, 
and  conception  is  without  sin  or  crime  (hence  Segda  in  the 
story  of  Becuma  was  "son  of  a  sinless  couple").  Its  people 
are  invisible:  they^see  but  are  not  seen,  and  none  ever  grows 
old.  The  magic  food  of  the  gods'  land  will  be  Etain's  —  un- 
salted  pork,,  new  milk,  and  mead.  Midir  now  met  Eochaid 
and  proposed  a  game  of  chess  with  him,  allowing  him  to  win, 
whereupon  Eochaid  demanded  that  Midir  and  his  folk  should 
perform  four  tasks  —  clear  the  plains  of  Meath,  remove 
rushes,  cut  down  the  forest  of  Breag,  and  build  a  causeway- 
across  the  moor  of  Lamrach.  In  the  Dindsenchas,  a  topo- 
graphical treatise,  these  tasks  are  an  eric,  or  fine,  on  Midir  for 
taking  Eochaid's  wife,  and  in  performing  them  the  divine  folk 
taught  a  new  custom  to  the  men  of  Erin,  viz.  placing  the  yoke 
over  the  oxen's  shoulders  instead  of  on  their  foreheads,  whence 
Eochaid's  cognomen,  Airem  ("Ploughman").^  In  a  second 
game  Midir  won  and  asked  that  he  might  hold  Etain  and  kiss 
her.  Eochaid  would  not  consent  until  a  month  had  passed, 
and  then  Midir  arrived  in  splendour  for  his  reward,  surrounded 
by  armies.  Etain  blushed  when  she  heard  his  demand,  but  he 
reminded  her  that  by  no  will  of  hers  had  he  won  her.  "Take 
me  then,"  said  she,  "if  Eochaid  is  willing  to  give  me  up." 
"For  that  I  am  not  willing,"  cried  Eochaid,  "but  he  may  cast 
his  arms  around  thee."  So  Midir  took  her  and  then  rose  with 
her  through  the  roof,  and  the  assembly  saw  the  pair  as  two 
swans  winging  their  way  to  the  sid. 

The  Egerton  version  ends  by  telling,  how  through  the  div- 
ination of  a  Druid,  Eochaid  discovered  Midir's  sid,  destroyed 
it,  and  recovered  Etain.  The  version  in  the  Leahhar  na  hUidre 
is  defective  after  narrating  how  Eochaid  and  his  men  dug  up 
several  sid  one  after  another;  but  the  Dindsenchas  relates  that 
Ess,  Etain'sedaughter,  brought  tribute  of  cattle  and  was  fos- 
tered by  Midir  for  nine  years,  during  which  Eochaid  besieged 
the  sid,  thwarted  by  his  power.  Midir  brought  out  sixty  women 


82  CELTIC  MYTHOLOGY 

in  Etain's  form,  among  them  Ess,  Eochaid's  daughter;  but 
Eochaid  mistook  her  for  Etain  and  by  her  had  a  daughter 
Mess  Buachalla,  mother  of  Conaire.  Recognizing  his  mistake, 
he  went  to  Midir,  who  restored  Etain  to  him;  and  in  revenge 
Siugmall,  Midir's  grandson,  afterwards  killed  Eochaid.® 

Although  folk-talc  formulae  are  found  in  this  story,  it  is 
based  on  myths  of  divine  love  and  magic  power  and  of  a  god- 
dess's rebirth  as  a  mortal.  Midir's  poetic  description  of  the 
gods'  land  is  archaic  and  may  only  later  have  been  connected 
with  the  underground  sid.  Curious,  too,  is  the  idea,  which  we 
have  noted  above,  of  the  subjection  of  gods  to  mortals  — 
performing  tasks  and  permitting  their  abode  to  be  spoiled  or  a 
consort  taken  from  them  —  but  It  may  reflect  the  belief  in 
magic  power  to  which  even  divinities  must  yield.  Never- 
theless, the  deities  get  their  own  back:  Etain's  recapture  is 
preceded  by  the  incest  incident;  Midir  is  slain;  and  his  de- 
scendant, Conaire,  dies  because  the  god  causes  him  to  break 
his  tabus,  as  already  described. 

The  story  of  the  birth  of  the  hero  Cuchulainn  is  based  on 
the  love  of  a  god.  Lug,  for  a  mortal,  Dechtere,  sister  of  Concho- 
bar.  King  of  Ulster.  It  is  told  in  two  versions,  one  found  in 
two  recensions,  the  Leahhar  na  hUidre  and  the  Egerton  Manu- 
script; the  other  is  also  given  in  the  Egerton  Manuscript. 
We  follow  the  latter  (c),  noting  the  chief  points  of  difference 
between  it  and  the  others  {a  and  b).  Dechtere,  with  fifty 
maidens,  left  Conchobar's  house  for  three  years,  at  last  return- 
ing in  the  form  of  birds  which  devoured  everything,  so  that 
Conchobar  organized  a  hunt  which  continued  unsuccessfully 
till  nightfall.  The  other  version  begins  with  the  devastation 
wrought  by  nine  flocks  of  mysterious  birds,  joined  two  and 
two  by  silver  chains,  the  leading  pair  in  each  group  being 
many-coloured;  but  these  birds  are  not  Dechtere  and  her 
companions,  for  she  accompanies  Conchobar  in  his  chariot  on 
the  hunt.  The  next  incident  Is  obscurely  told  in  version  c,  but 
comparing  it  with  the  other,  it  is  evident  that  the  hunters  en- 


THE   LOVES   OF  THE   GODS  83 

tered  a  small  house  where  were  a  man  and  a  woman,  and  that 
it  was  suddenly  enlarged,  beautified,  and  filled  with  all  desir- 
able things,  for  it  was  one  of  the  gods'  magic  dwellings,  which 
they  could  produce  on  earth  by  glamour.  The  man  was  Lug, 
the  woman  Dechtere,  though  this  was  known  only  to  Bricriu. 
Conchobar  believed  that  they  were  his  vassals  and  demanded 
his  right  of  sleeping  with  the  woman,  who  escaped  by  saying 
she  was  enceinte;  and  in  the  morning  an  infant  was  discovered, 
the  child  of  Dechtere  by  Lug,  though  it  had  the  appearance  of 
Conchobar.  The  child  was  called  Setanta,  but  afterward  was 
known  as  Cuchulainn. 

In  version  h  the  host  told  his  guests  that  his  wife  was  in 
childbed.  Dechtere  assisted  her  and  took  the  child  to  foster 
him;  and  at  the  same  time  the  host's  mare  gave  birth  to  two 
foals  —  a  common  folk-tale  coincidence.  In  the  morning  all 
had  vanished,  and  Conchobar's  party  returned  home  with  the 
child,  which  died  soon  after.  When  the  funeral  was  over,  Dech- 
tere in  drinking  swallowed  a  mysterious  tiny  animal,  and  that 
night  Lug  appeared,  telling  her  that  she  was  with  child  by  him, 
for  it  was  he  who  had  carried  her  off  with  her  companions  as 
birds  —  an  incident  lacking  in  this  version.  His  was  the  child 
whom  she  had  fostered,  and  now  he  himself  had  entered  her 
as  the  little  animal.  Her  child,  when  bom,  would  be  called 
Setanta.  Here  Setanta  is  at  once  Lug's  son  and  his  rebirth; 
but  the  two  ideas  are  not  exclusive  if  we  take  into  account 
ancient  ideas.  In  early  Indian  belief  the  father  became  an 
embryo  and  was  reincarnated  in  his  first-born  son,  whence 
funeral  rites  were  performed  for  the  father  in  the  fifth  month 
of  pregnancy,  and  he  was  remarried  after  the  birth. '^  Probably 
for  a  similar  reason,  preserved  in  Celtic  myth  after  it  was  no 
longer  believed  of  mortals,  a  god  who  had  a  child  by  a  mortal 
was  thought  to  be  reborn  while  still  existing  separately  him- 
self; and  this  explains  why  the  Ulstermen  sought  a  wife  for 
Cuchulainn  so  that  "his  rebirth  might  be  of  himself."  In 
various  texts  Cuchulainn  is  called  son  of  Lug. 


84  CELTIC  MYTHOLOGY 

When  Dechtere  was  found  to  be  with  child,  it  was  thought 
that  Conchobar  himself  was  the  father,  for  she  slept  by  him 
—  a  glimpse  of  primitive  manners  in  early  Ireland.  Elsewhere 
Cuchulainn  calls  Conchobar  his  father,^  and  this  may  represent 
another  form  of  the  story,  with  Conchobar  as  Cuchulainn's 
parent  by  his  sister  Dechtere.  Dechtere  was  meanwhile 
affianced  to  Sualtam,  but  ashamed  of  her  condition,  she 
vomited  up  the  animal  and  again  became  a  virgin;  yet  the 
child  whom  she  bore  to  Sualtam  was  the  offspring  of  the  three 
years'  absence  —  Setanta  or  Cuchulainn.  On  the  whole  this 
is  a  much  distorted  myth,  but  two  things  emerge  from  it  — 
Lug's  amour  with  Dechtere  and  his  fatherhood  of  Setanta.^ 

Another  tale,  with  Christian  interpolations,  tells  how 
Connla,  son  of  Conn,  who  reigned  from  122  to  157  a.  d.,  one 
day  saw  a  strange  woman  who  announced  that  she  was  from 
Tir  na  mBeo  ("the  Land  of  the  Living"),  where  was  no  death, 
but  perpetual  feasting,  and  her  people  dwelt  in  a  great  sid^ 
whence  they  were  called  des  side,  or  "people  of  the  jiV."  The 
goddess  was  invisible  to  all  but  Connla,  whence  Conn  asked 
him  with  whom  he  spoke,  to  which  she  replied  that  she  was 
one  who  looked  for  neither  death  nor  old  age  and  that  she 
loved  Connla  and  desired  him  to  come  to  Mag  Mell  ("the 
Pleasant  Plain"),  where  reigned  a  victorious  king.  Conn  bade 
his  Druid  use  powerful  magic  against  her  and  her  brichta  ban, 
or  "spells  of  women,"  against  which  at  a  later  time  St.  Patrick 
made  his  prayer.  The  Druid  pronounced  an  incantation  to 
hinder  Connla  from  seeing,  and  all  others  from  hearing,  the 
goddess,  who  withdrew  after  giving  an  apple  to  Connla.  He 
would  eat  nothing  but  this,  nor  did  it  ever  grow  less;  and  in  a 
month  the  love-lorn  Connla  saw  her  reappear  in  a  boat  of  glass, 
calling  him  to  come,  for  "the  ever-living  ones"  invited  him, 
so  that  he  might  escape  death.  Conn  again  called  his  Druid, 
whereupon  the  goddess  sang  that  the  Druids  would  soon  pass 
away  before  a  righteous  one,  St.  Patrick  —  a  Christian  inter- 
polation, post  eventum;  and  Conn  then  spoke  to  his  son,  but 


THE  LOVES  OF  THE  GODS  85 

the  goddess  sang  that  once  on  the  waves  Connla's  grief  at  leav- 
ing his  friends  would  be  forgotten,  and  the  land  of  joy  would 
soon  be  reached,  where  there  were  none  but  women.  Connla 
sprang  into  the  boat,  which  sped  across  the  sea  into  the  un- 
known, whence  he  has  never  returned, ^°  In  this  tale  the  land 
of  women  is  obviously  but  a  part  of  the  divine  land,  since  that 
is  ruled  by  a  king;  and  there  is  also  confusion  between  the 
idea  of  an  overseas  region  of  the  immortals  —  Mag  Mell  — 
and  that  of  the  subterranean  sid.  Connla's  adventure  is  men- 
tioned in  the  Coir  Jnmann,  or  Fitness  of  Names,  where  an- 
other account  is  given,  viz.  that  he  was  slain  by  enemies."  A 
parallel  myth,  perhaps  of  Celtic  origin,  is  found  in  one  of  the 
Lais  of  Marie  de  France  concerning  the  knight  Lanval,  with 
whom  a  fairy  fell  in  love.  When  she  declared  herself,  he  sprang 
on  horseback  behind  her  and  went  away  to  Avalon,  a  beau- 
tiful island,  the  Elysium  of  the  Brythonic  Celts. ^- 

The  Land  of  Ever-Living  Women  recurs  in  some  tales  of  the 
imm-rama,  or  romantic  voyage,  type,  e.  g.  in  The  Voyage  of 
Maelduin,  an  old  pagan  story  reconstructed  in  Christian 
times.  Maelduin  and  his  companions  went  on  a  quest  for  his 
father's  murderers  and  met  with  the  strangest  adventures, 
one  of  which  describes  their  arrival  at  an  island  where  they 
saw  seventeen  girls  preparing  a  bath.  A  warrior  appeared  who, 
on  bathing,  proved  to  be  a  woman  and  sent  one  of  the  girls 
to  bid  the  men  enter  her  house.  There  a  splendid  repast  was 
given  them,  and  the  woman,  Queen  of  the  isle,  desired  each  to 
take  the  girl  who  best  pleased  him,  reserving  herself  for  Mael- 
duin. In  the  morning  she  begged  all  to  remain.  Their  age 
would  not  increase;  they  would  be  immortal;  and  perpetual 
feasting  and  excessive  love  without  toil  would  be  theirs.  She 
had  been  wife  of  the  King  of  the  island,  the  girls  were  her 
daughters,  and  now  she  reigned  alone,  so  that  she  must  leave 
them  each  day  to  judge  cases  for  the  people  of  the  isle.  The 
voyagers  remained  three  months,  when  all  but  Maelduin  grew 
home-sick;   yet  he  consented  to  go  with  them,  and  all  entered 


86  CELTIC  MYTHOLOGY 

their  boat  in  the  Queen's  absence.  Suddenly  she  appeared  and 
threw  out  a  rope  which  Maelduin  seized,  with  the  result  that 
they  were  drawn  back  to  the  shore,  where  they  remained  three 
months  longer,  escaping  then  once  more.  This  time  one  of 
Maelduin's  men  caught  the  rope  thrown  by  the  Queen,  but  the 
others  severed  his  hand,  and  seeing  this,  she  wept  bitterly  at 
their  going.^'  These  women  were  not  mortals  but  goddesses, 
eager  for  the  love  of  men. 

Another  myth  tells  of  a  goddess's  love  for  Cuchulainn.  A 
flock  of  beautiful  birds  appeared  in  Ulster,  and  caused  all  the 
women  to  long  for  them.  Cuchulainn,  in  distributing  his  catch 
among  them,  omitted  his  mistress  Ethne,  and  to  appease  her 
he  promised  that  the  two  most  beautiful  birds  which  next  ap- 
peared would  be  hers.  Soon  after,  two  birds  linked  together 
flew  over  the  lake,  singing  a  song  which  made  everyone  but 
Cuchulainn  sleep.  He  pursued,  but  failing  to  catch  them,  he 
rested,  angry  in  soul,  against  a  stone,  and  while  sleeping  saw 
two  women  approaching,  one  in  a  green  mantle,  and  the  other 
in  a  purple,  each  armed  with  a  horse-whip  with  which  they 
attacked  him.  When  he  was  all  but  dead,  his  friends  found 
him,  and  on  his  awaking,  he  remained  ill  for  a  year.  Then 
appeared  a  stranger  who  sang  of  the  healing  which  could  be 
given  him  by  Aed  Abrat's  daughters,  Liban  and  Fand,  wife  of 
Manannan.  Fand  desired  his  love,  would  he  but  come  to  her 
wondrous  land;  and  had  he  been  her  friend,  none  of  the  things 
seen  by  him  in  vision  would  have  happened.  The  stranger, 
Oengus,  son  of  Aed  Abrat,  disappeared,  and  after  the  Ulster- 
men  had  persuaded  Cuchulainn  to  tell  his  vision,  he  was  ad- 
vised to  return  to  the  pillar-stone.  There  he  found  Liban,  who 
told  him  that  Manannan  had  abandoned  Fand,  and  she 
brought  him  a  message  from  her  own  husband,  Labraid,  that 
he  would  give  him  Fand  in  return  for  one  day's  service  against 
his  enemies.^"*  Labraid  dwelt  in  Mag  Mcll,  and  there  Cuchu- 
lainn would  recover  his  strength;  but  the  hero  desired  his 
charioteer  Loeg  first  to  go  and  report  upon  this  land. 


PLATE   IX 

A    AND    B 

Altar  from  Saintes 

A.  The  obverse  shows  a  seated  god  and  goddess. 
The  god  is  squatting  (cf.  Plates  III,  3,  VIII,  XXV), 
and  holds  a  torque  in  his  hand.  The  goddess  has  a 
cornucopia  (cf.  Plates  XIV,  XV),  and  a  small  fe- 
male figure  stands  beside  her. 

B.  On  the  reverse  is  a  squatting  god  with  a  purse 
in  his  right  hand;  to  the  left  is  a  god  with  a  hammer 
(see  Plates  XIII,  XIV,  XXVI),  and  to  the  right  is 
a  goddess.  Three  bulls'  heads  are  shown  below 
(cf.  Plates  II,  4-5,  9,  III,  5,  XIX,  i,  6,  XX,  B,  XXI). 
From  an  altar  found  at  Saintes,  Charente-Inferieure, 
France. 


THE   LOVES   OF  THE   GODS  87 

At  this  point  we  hear  of  Loeg's  visit  and  return,  and  next 
follows  a  long  passage  that  has  nothing  to  do  with  the  story, 
which  then  continues  as  if  from  another  version  in  which 
Liban's  visit  had  not  occurred.  Cuchulainn  was  still  ill  and 
sent  Loeg  to  tell  Emer,  his  wife,  how  women  of  the  side  had 
destroyed  his  strength;  but  when  she  reproached  him  for  his 
weakness,  he  arose  and  went  to  the  enclosure  (the  pillar-stone 
of  the  first  part).  There  Liban  appeared,  singing  of  Labraid's 
prowess  and  of  his  need  for  Cuchulainn,  and  striving  to  lead 
the  hero  to  the  dwelling  of  the  side  or  to  Labraid's  home  on  a 
lake  where  troops  of  women  came  and  went.  Cuchulainn  re- 
fused to  go  at  a  woman's  call,  whereupon  Liban  proposed  that 
Loeg  should  bring  tidings  of  Labraid's  land.  The  two  visits  of 
Loeg  are  thus  the  same,  but  differently  described-.  In  the  first 
Liban  took  Loeg  by  the  shoulder,  for  he  could  not  go  in  safety, 
unless  under  the  protection  of  a  woman.  In  a  bronze  boat  they 
reached  an  island  in  a  lake,  and  in  a  palace  Loeg  saw  thrice 
fifty  women  who  welcomed  him.  While  he  spoke  with  Fand, 
Labraid  arrived,  gloomy  because  of  the  approaching  contest, 
but  Liban  cheered  him  by  announcing  that  Loeg  was  there, 
and  that  Cuchulainn  would  come.  Now  Loeg  returned  to  tell 
of  all  he  had  seen. 

The  other  version  describes  how  Loeg  passed  with  Liban  to 
the  plain  of  Fidga,  where  dwelt  Aed  Abrat  and  his  daughters. 
There  Fand  bade  him  at  once  bring  Cuchulainn,  for  on  that 
day  the  strife  would  begin;  and  Loeg  returned,  urging  Cuchu- 
lainn to  go  and  recounting  what  he  had  beheld.  In  one  house 
were  thrice  fifty  men;  at  the  eastern  gate  were  three  purple 
trees  with  birds  singing;  in  the  forecourt  was  a  silver  tree 
with  musical  branches;  from  sixty  other  trees  dropped  food  to 
nourish  three  hundred;  and  there  was,  too,  a  vat  of  unfailing 
ale.  He  described  Fand's  marvellous  beauty  and  still  urged 
Cuchulainn  with  accounts  of  the  attractiveness  of  the  land, 
without  any  lie  or  injustice,  and  of  the  glory  of  its  warriors  and 

its  women.    Cuchulainn  at  last  went  there  and  by  his  might 
III — 7 


88  CELTIC  MYTHOLOGY 

quelled  the  enemies  of  the  god.  Fand  and  Liban  now  sang  in 
praise  of  him,  and  he  remained  for  a  month  with  Fand,  after 
which  he  bade  her  farewell.  She  appointed  a  tryst  with  him  in 
Erin,  but  Emer  heard  of  it  and  with  fifty  women  came  to  at- 
tack Fand.  Cuchulainn,  however,  bade  Fand  have  no  fear,  and 
addressing  Emer  he  told  her  how  the  goddess  was  more  worthy 
of  his  love.  Emer  reproached  him,  and  when  she  added,  "If 
only  I  could  find  favour  in  thy  sight,"  Cuchulainn's  love  for 
her  returned:  "Thou  shalt  find  favour  so  long  as  I  am  in  life." 
Then  began  a  noble  contest  between  Fand  and  Emer  as  to 
which  of  them  should  sacrifice  herself  for  the  other,  and  Fand 
sang  a  beautiful  lament.  At  this  moment  Manannan  became 
aware  of  Fand's  predicament  and  arrived  to  rescue  her,  unseen 
by  all  save  her  and  Loeg.  Fand  again  sang,  describing  the 
coming  of  "the  horseman  of  the  crested  sea-waves,"  and  told 
of  her  former  love  for  the  god  and  the  splendour  of  their  es- 
pousals. Now,  deserted  by  Cuchulainn,  she  would  return  to 
Manannan;  but  still  her  heart  yearned  for  the  hero,  as  she 
told  Manannan  when  he  asked  her  whether  she  would  depart 
with  him  or  no.  Yet  one  thing  weighed  with  her:  Manannan 
had  no  consort  worthy  of  him,  while  Cuchulainn  already  had 
Emer.  So  she  departed;  and  when  the  hero  knew  it,  he  bounded 
thrice  in  air  and  gave  three  leaps  southward,  and  abode  for  a 
long  time  fasting  in  the  mountains.  Emer  went  to  Conchobar, 
who  sent  his  Druids  to  bind  Cuchulainn;  and  when  the  hero 
would  have  slain  them,  they  chanted  spells  and  fettered  him, 
giving  him  a  draught  of  oblivion  so  that  he  remembered  Fand 
no  more.  Emer  also  shared  in  this  potion  and  forgot  her 
jealousy;  "and  Manannan  shook  his  mantle  between  Cuchu- 
lainn and  Fand,  so  that  they  should  never  meet  again."  '^  In 
this  story  Emer  addresses  Loeg  as  one  who  often  searches  the 
sid,  while  he  speaks  of  the  divine  land  as  well-known  to  him 
and  seems  to  see  Manannan  when  he  is  invisible  to  the  others, 
Manannan  himself  was  an  ardent  lover,  and  what  St.  Pat- 
rick called  "a  complicated  bit  of  romance,"  was  told  to  him 


THE  LOVES  OF  THE  GODS  89 

by  Caollte.  Allien,  of  the  Tuatha  De  Danann,  became  en- 
amoured of  Manannan's  wife,  while  his  sister  Aine,  daughter  of 
Eogabal,  loved  Manannan  and  was  dearer  to  him  than  all 
mankind.  Aine  asked  the  cause  of  her  brother's  sadness,  and 
he  told  her  that  he  loved  the  goddess  Uchtdelbh  ("Shapely 
Bosom").  Aine  accordingly  bade  him  come  with  her  where 
the  divine  pair  were,  and  taking  her  seat  by  Manannan,  she 
gave  him  passionate  kisses.  Meanwhile  Uchtdelbh,  seeing 
Allien,  loved  him;  and  Manannan  gave  her  to  him,  himself 
taking  Aine.^^  On  another  occasion  Manannan  desired  Tuag, 
a  maiden  guarded  by  hosts  of  the  King  of  Erin's  daughters; 
and  since  no  man  might  see  her,  Manannan  sent  a  divine 
Druid,  Fer  Fidail,  son  of  Eogabal,  in  the  form  of  a  woman  to 
gain  access  to  Tuag.  He  remained  with  her  three  nights  and 
then,  singing  a  sleep-strain  over  her,  he  carried  her  to  the 
shore  and  left  her  slumbering  while  he  looked  for  a  boat  wherein 
to  carry  her  asleep  to  the  Land  of  Ever-Living  Women,  or,  in 
another  version,  to  go  to  take  counsel  of  Manannan.  But  a 
wave  came  and  drowned  her,  the  wave  in  one  version  being 
Manannan  the  sea-god  himself  —  a  primitive  piece  of  person- 
alization of  nature.  For  his  misdeed  Fer  Fidail  was  slain  by 
Manannan,  and  probably  the  cause  of  offence  was  that  he  had 
loved  Tuag,^^  this  explaining  why  she  was  drowned  by  the 
disappointed  god. 

A  parallel  myth,  connected  with  other  personages,  tells  how 
Clidna  the  Shapely  went  from  the  Hill  of  the  Two  Wheels,  in 
the  Pleasant  Plain  of  the  Land  of  Promise,  with  luchna  Curly- 
Locks  to  go  to  Oengus  Mac  Ind  Oc.  But  luchna  practised 
guile  upon  her  so  that  she  slept  in  the  boat  of  bronze  through 
his  music;  and  then  he  turned  the  boat's  head,  altering  its 
course  till  it  reached  the  place  called  Clidna.  At  that  time 
occurred  one  of  the  three  great  seabursts  which  spread  through 
all  the  world.  It  caught  up  the  boat,  and  Clidna  was  drowned; 
whence  this  seaburst  was  called  Clidna's  Wave.^^  The 
others  were  Tuag's  and  Rudraige's,  or  Ladru's  and  Baile's. 


90  CELTIC  MYTHOLOGY 

The  story  of  Crlmthann  Nia  Nair  shows  that  one  who  so- 
journs in  the  divine  land  or  tastes  its  food  may  not  be  able  to 
return  to  earth  with  impunity,  for  he  has  become  a  member  of 
the  other-world  state  and  is  no  longer  fit  for  earth.  This  is 
found  in  other  Irish  tales  and  in  stories  of  fairyland  or  the  world 
of  the  dead  elsewhere. ^^  Crimthann  was  son  of  Lugaid  Red 
Stripes,  of  whom  one  of  those  occasional  stories  of  incest,  not 
uncommon  in  primitive  society,  is  told,  proving  that  it  had 
at  one  time  been  common  in  Celtic  custom,  perhaps  in  the 
royal  house.  Lugaid's  mother  was  Clothru,  a  sister  of  Medb 
and  Ethne.  Clothru  and  Ethne  are  both  said  to  have  been 
wives  of  Conchobar  after  Medb  left  him  for  Ailill;  and  their 
brothers,  Bres,  Nar,  and  Lothar,  were  called  the  Three  Finns, 
or  White  Ones,  of  Emuin.  Once  Clothru  bewailed  her  childless 
condition  to  them,  and  as  a  result  of  her  entreaties  she  had  a 
son  Lugaid  by  all  three. ^°  Clothru  again  bore  a  child  to  Lugaid, 
Crimthann  Nia  Nair,  or  "Nar's  Man,"  the  hero  of  this  story 
and  afterward  supreme  king,  who  fared  on  what  is  called  "a 
splendid  adventure"  with  a  goddess  or  witch  called  Nar.  He 
went  to  a  land  overseas,  where  he  remained  with  her  for  a 
month  and  a  half;  and  at  his  departure  he  obtained  many 
love-tokens  —  a  chariot  and  a  golden  draught-board,  a  sword 
richly  ornamented,  a  spear  whose  wounds  were  always  mortal, 
a  sling  which  never  missed  its  aim,  two  dogs  worth  a  hundred 
female  slaves,  and  a  beautiful  mantle.  Soon  after  his  return, 
however,  he  fell  from  his  horse  and  died  -^  —  an  incident  per- 
haps to  be  explained  in  terms  of  the  myths  of  Loegaire  Liban 
and  Oisin,  who,  in  order  to  return  to  the  divine  land,  were 
warned  not  to  dismount  from  their  horses.^-  On  the  other 
hand,  Cuchulainn  was  able  to  return  to  Ireland  from  Elysium 
without  hurt,  and  so  also  was  Aedh,  son  of  the  King  of  Lein- 
ster,  who  was  enticed  into  the  sid  by  Bodb  Dearg's  daughters. 
For  three  years  the  folk  of  the  sid  cared  for  him  while  his 
father  mourned,  not  knowing  whither  the  divine  people  had 
taken  him  —  into  the  sky  or  down  under  the  earth.    He  and 


THE  LOVES  OF  THE  GODS  91 

fifty  other  youths  escaped,  however,  and  Aedh  met  St.  Pat- 
rick, who  restored  him  to  his  father  and  said  that  he  would 
eventually  die  as  God  willed,  i.  e.  the  Tuatha  De  Danann 
would  have  no  further  power  over  him.-^ 

Sometimes  mortals,  or  gods  later  envisaged  as  mortals, 
abducted  daughters  of  gods.  Garman  took  Bodb's  daughter 
Mesca  from  the  sid;  but  she  died  of  shame,  and  the  plain 
where  her  grave  was  dug  was  named  after  her,  Mag  Mesca. -^ 
Men  of  the  sid,  divine  or  semi-divine  beings,  but  regarded  as 
attendants  on  men,  also  had  love-affairs  with  goddesses. 
Cliach,  from  sid  Balne,  was  harper  to  the  King  of  the  three 
Rosses  and  made  music  at  the  sid  of  Femen  to  attract  Con- 
chenn,  Bodb's  daughter.  For  a  year  Bodb's  magic  prevented 
the  lover  from  approaching  nearer,  so  that  he  "could  do  noth- 
ing to  the  girls  "  in  the  sid;  but  he  harped  until  earth  opened, 
and  a  dragon  issued  forth,  when  he  died  in  terror.  This  dragon 
will  arise  at  the  end  of  the  world  and  afflict  Ireland  in  ven- 
geance for  St.  John  Baptist  —  perhaps  an  altered  fragment  of 
an  old  cosmogonic  myth.^^  Another  story  has  some  resem- 
blance to  this.  Liath,  a  young  Prince  of  the  side,  loved  Midir's 
daughter  Bri,  who  went  with  her  attendants  to  meet  him  as 
he  approached.  But  the  slingers  on  Midir's  sid  kept  him  back, 
and  their  sling-stones  were  like  "a  swarm  of  bees  on  a  day  of 
beauty."  Liath's  servant  was  slain,  and  because  Liath  could 
not  reach  her,  Bri  turned  back  to  the  sid  and  died  of  a  broken 
heart.^^ 

Besides  these,  a  large  number  of  Irish  and  Welsh  tales  Illus- 
trate the  amours  of  the  gods,  as  may  be  seen  elsewhere  in  this 
volume. 


CHAPTER    VIII 
THE    MYTHS   OF    THE    BRITISH    CELTS 

THE  surviving  myths  of  the  British  Celts  (Brythons),  as 
distinguished  from  the  Irish  Celts  (Goidels),  exist  in  the 
form  of  romantic  tales  in  the  Mabinogion  and  similar  Welsh 
stories  and  in  the  Arthurian  and  Taliesin  literature,  or  are  re- 
ferred to  in  the  Triads  and  Welsh  poems.  Have  the  divinities 
who  there  figure  as  kings  and  queens,  heroes  and  heroines, 
magicians  and  fairies,  retained  any  of  their  original  traits  and 
functions?  The  question  is  less  easily  answered  than  in  the 
case  of  Irish  divinities  subjected  to  the  same  romantic  and 
euhemerizing  processes.  With  religious  and  social  changes  it 
was  forgotten  that  the  gods  were  gods,  and  they  became  more 
or  less  human,  for  the  mediaeval  story-teller  was  "pillaging 
an  antiquity  of  which  he  does  not  fully  possess  the  secret." 
The  composition  of  the  stories  of  the  Mabinogion^  like  those  of 
the  great  Irish  manuscripts,  dates  from  the  tenth  and  eleventh 
centuries,  yet  in  both  cases  materials  and  personages  are 
of  far  older  date,  the  supernatural  element  is  strong,  and  there 
is  a  mythical  substratum  surviving  all  changes.  Further,  the 
Welsh  tales  belong  to  a  systematized  method  of  treating  an- 
cient traditions,  and  were  the  literary  stock-in-trade  of  the 
Alabinog,  or  aspirant  to  the  position  of  a  qualified  bard.  This 
process  was  still  further  carried  out  in  Ireland,  where  myths 
were  recast  into  a  chronological  as  well  as  a  romantic  mould, 
the  file,  or  man  of  letters,  being  estimated  according  to  the 
number  of  his  stories  and  his  power  of  harmonizing  and  syn- 
chronizing them.  In  Welsh  literature  the  euhemerizing, 
historical  process  is  seen  at  work  less  in  the  legends  than  in 


THE   MYTHS   OF  THE   BRITISH   CELTS        93 

the  historians  Nennius  and  Geoffrey  of  Monmouth,  with 
whom  some  gods  became  kings  having  a  definite  date,  as  in 
the  Irish  annals. 

Certain  personages  and  incidents  of  Welsh  story  resemble 
those  of  Irish  tradition.  Was  there,  then,  once  a  common 
mythology  among  the  ancestors  of  Goidel  and  Brython,  to 
which  new  local  myths  later  accrued  ?  Or  did  Irish  and  Welsh 
myths  mingle  because  Goidels  existed  either  as  a  primitive 
population  in  Wales,  conquered  by  Brythons,  or  as  a  later 
Irish  immigration?  Probably  we  are  right  in  assuming  that 
the  Mahinogion  literature  contains  the  debris  of  Brythonic 
myths,  influenced  more  or  less  from  Goidelic  sources,  as  the 
occasional  presence  of  Irish  names  and  episodes  suggests.  The 
Arthurian  and  Taliesin  cycles  are  purely  Brythonic.  What  is 
certain  is  that  the  dim  divinities  of  the  Mahinogion  are  local' 
in  character  and  belong  to  specific  districts  in  Wales,  gods  of^ 
tribes  settled  there.  Celtic  divinities  were  apt  to  be  local, 
though  some  had  a  wider  repute.  Few  of  the  many  British 
divinities  mentioned  in  inscriptions  are  known  to  Welsh  story. 
Nodons  is  Nudd  or  Lludd;  Maponos  is  Mabon;  the  Belenos 
and  Taranos  of  Continental  inscriptions  may  be  respectively 
Beli  or  Belinus  and  Taran  of  Welsh  story,  while  the  latter  sug- 
gests the  British  idol  called  Heithiurun  in  the  Dind'senchas .^ 

The  Mabinogi  of  Pwyll,  Prince  of  Dyfed,^  begins  by  tell- 
ing why  he  was  called  Pen  Jnnzvfn,  or  "Head  of  Annwfn" 
(Elysium).  One  day  he  observed  a  strange  pack  following  a 
deer,  but  when  he  drove  them  off  and  urged  on  his  own  hounds, 
a  horesman  appeared,  rebuking  him  for  interfering  with  his 
sport.  Pwyll  apologized,  and  presently  he  and  the  stranger, 
Arawn,  King  of  Annwfn,  agreed  to  exchange  their  forms  and 
kingdoms  for  a  year:  Pwyll  would  have  Arawn's  beautiful 
wife  and  would  fight  Arawn's  rival,  Havgan,  giving  him  but 
one  blow,  which  would  slay  him,  for  a  second  would  resusci- 
tate him.  All  this  happened  satisfactorily;  never  had  Pwyll's 
kingdom   been   so  well   ruled,    and  complete   friendship   was 


94  CELTIC  MYTHOLOGY 

effected  between  the  monarchs.  As  in  Irish  myth,  this  is  the 
theme  of  a  mortal  helping  a  deity  in  the  Other-World.  Yet 
Pwyll  was  once  himself  a  god,  as  his  title  Pen  Annzvfn  denotes, 
and  was  later  euhemerized  into  a  king,  or  confused  with  an 
actual  monarch  called  Pwyll,  while  Annwfn  here  becomes  a 
mere  kingdom  on  earth. 

One  day  Pwyll  sat  on  a  mound  which  had  the  property  of 
causing  him  who  was  seated  on  it  to  receive  a  blow  or  see  a 
prodigy.  A  beautiful  woman  rode  toward  him  and  his  men, 
who  pursued,  but  could  not  take  her.  This  happened  again  on 
the  morrow,  but  on  the  third  day,  when  Pwyll  himself  pursued, 
she  stood  still  at  his  bidding.  She  was  Rhiannon,  daughter 
of  Heveidd  Hen,  and  wished  to  marry  him  instead  of  Gwawl, 
whom  she  detested;  and  in  a  year  he  must  come  to  her  father's 
court  for  her.  When  Pwyll  arrived,  a  stranger,  who  in  reality 
was  Gwawl,  appeared  demanding  a  boon  of  him,  and  on  his 
promising  it,  asked  for  Rhiannon.  She  solved  the  difficulty 
by  agreeing  to  be  Gwawl's  wife  in  a  year,  but  bade  Pwyll  ap- 
pear then  as  a  beggar,  carrying  a  certain  magic  bag,  which,  in 
the  sequel,  could  not  be  filled  with  food.  Gwawl  was  enraged, 
but  was  told  by  the  beggar  that  unless  a  man  of  lands  and 
riches  stamped  down  the  contents,  it  never  could  be  filled. 
Gwawl  did  so  and  was  immediately  imprisoned  in  the  bag, 
which  was  kicked  about  the  hall  by  Pwyll's  followers  until,  to 
escape  death,  he  renounced  his  claim  to  Rhiannon. 

The  magic  mound  is  here  the  equivalent  of  the  sid,  and  such 
hills  are  favourite  places  for  the  appearance  of  immortals  or 
fairies  in  Celtic  story.  Rhiannon,  who  suddenly  appeared  on 
the  hill,  was  a  goddess,  like  Fand  or  Connla's  lover,  and  the 
theme  is  that  of  the  Fairy  Bride. 

The  story  now  tells  how  Rhiannon,  whose  child  disappeared 
at  birth,  was  accused  of  slaying  it  and  was  forced  to  sit  at  the 
horse-block  of  the  palace,  to  tell  her  story  to  each  new  comer, 
and  to  offer  to  carry  him  inside.  Meanwhile  Teyrnon,  Lord  of 
Gwent-is-coed,  had  a  mare  whose  foals  disappeared  on  May- 


PLATE   X 
Incised  Stones  from  Scotland 

1.  Incised  stone,  locally  known  as  "the  Picardy 
Stone,"  with  double  disc  and  Z-rod  symbol,  serpent 
and  Z-symbol,  and  mirror  with  double-disc  handle. 
From  Insch,  Aberdeenshire. 

2.  Incised  stone  with  double  disc  and  serpent 
and  Z-rod  symbols.  From  Newton,  Aberdeenshire. 
a.  Plate  XVII. 


THE   MYTHS   OF  THE   BRITISH   CELTS        95 

Eve,  and  this  May-Eve  he  saw  a  huge  claw  clutching  the  new- 
born colt.  He  severed  It  with  his  sword,  and  the  intruder 
vanished;  but  at  the  door-way  was  a  new-born  infant,  which 
Teyrnon  nurtured.  Like  Cuchulainn  and  other  heroes,  it  had 
a  rapid  growth  and  was  called  Gwri  Golden-Hair.  Noticing 
Gwri's  likeness  to  Pwyll,  Teyrnon  carried  the  boy  to  him, 
and  Rhiannon  was  reinstated,  exclaiming  that  her  anguish 
(pryderi)  was  past;  whence  Gwri  was  called  Pryderi  and 
succeeded  Pwyll  as  King. 

Folk-tale  formulae  abound  in  this  section  —  that  of  the 
Abandoned  Wife,  found  also  in  the  Mahinogi  of  Branwen;  and 
that  of  an  animal  born  the  same  night  as  the  hero;  while  the 
claw  incident  occurs  In  tales  of  Flonn.  The  importance  of  the 
story  is  in  Pryderi's  birth.  The  fact  that  Teyrnon's  foal  dis- 
appeared on  the  same  night  as  Pryderi,  who  was  found  at 
Teyrnon's  door,  and  the  meanings  of  the  names  Teyrnon  = 
TIgernonos  ("Great  King")  or  Tigernos  ("Chief"),  and 
Rhiannon  =  Rigantona  ("Great  Queen"),  may  point  to  a 
myth  in  which  they  were  Pryderi's  parents.^  Manawyddan, 
who  becomes  Rhiannon's  husband  and  rescues  both  her  and 
Pryderi  from  the  vengeance  of  Gwawl,  may  have  been  his 
father  in  another  myth,  for  a  poem  associates  him  with  Pry- 
deri in  Caer  SIdi,  a  part  of  Annwfn.  In  the  story,  however, 
Pwyll,  an  original  lord  of  Elysium,  is  Pryderi's  parent.  Does 
this  point  to  a  number  of  goddesses,  bearing  the  name  Rigan- 
tona, consorts  of  different  gods,  and  later  fused  into  one  as 
Rhiannon.''  In  another  Mabinogi,  Pryderi  is  despoiled  of 
swine  sent  him  by  Arawn,  or  of  which,  according  to  a  Triad, 
he  was  swineherd,  Pwyll  having  brought  them  from  Annwfn 
and  given  them  to  Pryderi's  foster-father.  Pwyll  and  Pryderi 
are  thus  associated  with  Elysium  and  with  animals  brought 
thence.  A  Tallesin  poem  tells  of  the  magic  cauldron  of  Pen 
Annwfn,  viz.  Pwyll.  Round  It  was  a  ridge  of  pearls;  it  would 
not  boil  a  coward's  food;  voices  Issued  from  it;  it  was  warmed 
by  the  breath  of  nine  maidens;  and  it  formed  part  of  the 


96  CELTIC  MYTHOLOGY 

"Spoils  of  Annwfn"  which  Arthur  and  others  made  a  long 
journey  overseas  to  obtain.  Gweir  was  imprisoned  in  Caer 
Sidi  through  the  spite  (or  messenger?)  of  Pwyll  and  Pryderi, 
associated  as  lords  and  defenders  of  Annwfn.'*  Arawn,  Lord 
of  Annwfn,  was  defeated  by  Amaethon,  son  of  Don,  at  the 
mythic  battle  of  Cath  Godeu.^ 

The  Mahinogi  of  Math,  son  of  Mathonwy,^  tells  of  Gil- 
vaethwy's  love  for  Goewin,  Math's  "foot-holder."  To  help 
him  his  brother  Gwydion  resolved  to  cause  war  and  told  Math 
that  swine,  unknown  before,  had  been  sent  to  Pryderi  in  Dyfed 
by  Arawn.  He  and  Gilvaethwy,  disguised  as  bards,  set  oflP  to  the 
court  of  Pr}'deri,  who  praised  Gwydion  for  his  songs,  where- 
upon the  latter  asked  for  the  swine,  but  was  told  that  they 
must  breed  double  their  number  ere  they  left  the  country. 
Gwydion  now  obtained  them  in  exchange  for  twelve  stallions 
and  twelve  greyhounds  magically  formed  by  him  from  fungus; 
but  these  soon  turned  again  to  their  original  shape,  and  Pryd- 
eri invaded  Math's  territory,  only  to  be  defeated  and  slain 
in  single  combat  by  Gwydion's  enchantments.  Gilvaethwy 
outraged  Goewin  during  the  battle,  and  when  Math  discovered 
this,  he  transformed  the  brothers  first  into  a  couple  of  deer, 
then  into  swine,  and  finally  into  wolves.  In  these  forms  they 
had  animal  progeny,  afterward  changed  to  human  shape  by 
Math.  Math  now  found  a  new  "foot-holder"  in  Arianrhod, 
Gwydion's  sister,  but  she  proved  no  virgin,  and  when  Math 
caused  her  to  pass  under  his  magic  rod,  she  bore  twins,  one  of 
whom  was  taken  by  Math  and  called  Dylan.  When  Gwydion 
brought  the  other,  who  had  grown  rapidly,  to  Arianrhod's 
castle,  she  refused  to  give  him  a  name.  Disguised  as  a  shoe- 
maker, Gwydion  then  arrived  with  the  boy  and  made  shoes 
for  Arianrhod  which  did  not  fit.  She  went  on  board  Gwyd- 
ion's ship,  produced  by  magic,  and  saw  the  boy  shoot  a  bird. 
Not  recognizing  him,  she  cried,  "With  a  sure  hand  {Haw 
gyffes)  lieu  shoots  the  bird,"  whereupon  Gwydion  revealed 
himself  and   said  that  she   had   named  the  boy,   Lieu   Llaw 


THE   MYTHS  OF  THE   BRITISH   CELTS        97 

Gyffes.  Now  she  refused  to  arm  him,  but  once  more  disguised, 
Gwydion  with  Lieu  caused  an  enchanted  fleet  to  appear;  and 
she  armed  both,  only  to  be  taunted  with  the  stratagem.  Again 
she  said  that  Lieu  would  never  have  a  wife  of  the  people  of  this 
earth,  but  Math  and  Gwydion  made  him  a  bride  out  of  flowers 
and  called  her  Blodeuwedd.  She  was  unfaithful  to  Lieu,  how- 
ever, and  advised  by  her  lover,  Gronw  Pebyr,  she  discovered 
that  a  javelin  wrought  for  a  year  during  Mass  on  Sundays 
would  kill  him  when  standing  with  one  foot  on  a  buck  and  the 
other  on  a  bath  curiously  prepared  by  the  bank  of  a  river. 
Gronw  made  the  javelin,  and  when  Lieu,  prevailed  on  by 
Blodeuwedd,  showed  her  the  fatal  position,  he  was  struck  by 
Gronw  and  flew  off  as  an  eagle.  Soon  after,  Gwydion  found  a 
pig  eating  worms  which  fell  from  a  wasted  eagle  on  a  tree; 
and  as  he  sang  three  verses,  at  each  the  eagle  came  nearer. 
When  he  struck  it  with  a  magic  rod,  it  became  Lieu,  who  now 
turned  Blodeuwedd  into  an  owl;  while  Gronw  had  to  submit 
to  a  blow  from  a  javelin  which  penetrated  the  flat  stone  placed 
by  him  against  his  body  and  killed  him.  Lieu  now  recovered 
his  lands  and  ruled  them  happily. 

These  personages  are  associated  with  a  dim  figure  called 
Don,  who  is  probably  not  male,  but  female,  and  is  mother  of 
Gwydion,  Gilvsethwy,  Govannon,  Amsethon,  and  Arianrhod, 
who  was  herself  mother  of  Dylan  and  Lieu.  Math  is  Don's 
brother.  Superficially  this  group  is  equivalent  to  the  Tuatha 
De  Danann,  and  Don  is  parallel  to  Danu,  while  Govannon 
(go/,  "smith")  is  the  equivalent  of  Goibniu,  the  Irish  smith- 
god.  Lieu,  the  reading  of  whose  name  as  Llew  ("Lion")  may 
be  abandoned,  has  been  equated  with  Lug,  and  both  names 
are  said  to  mean  "light."  "Light,"  however,  has  no  sense  in 
the  name-giving  incident,  and  possibly,  as  Loth  suggests,^ 
there  is  a  connexion  with  Irish  lu,  "Httle."  The  other  names 
of  the  group  have  no  parallels  among  the  Tuatha  De  Danann. 
Mythological  traits  are  the  magic  powers  of  Math  and  Gwyd- 
ion, their  shape-shifting,  and  the  introduction  of  the  swine. 


98  CELTIC  MYTHOLOGY 

Math  Hen,  or  "the  Ancient,"  is  an  old  Welsh  "high  god," 
remembered  for  magic,  which  he  taught  to  Gwydion;  for  the 
fact  that  the  winds  brought  to  him  the  least  whisper  of  a  con- 
versation, wherever  it  might  be  held;  and  for  his  pre-eminent 
goodness  to  the  suffering  and  his  justice  without  vengeance 
upon  the  wrongdoer.  The  last  trait  shows  a  high  ideal  of 
divinity,  and  the  second  a  conception  of  omniscience. 

As  a  magician  Gwydion  is  also  prominent,  and  by  magic 
he  governed  Gwynedd.  He  was  the  cleverest  of  men  and 
possessed  terrible  strength,  while  his  prophetic  powers  are 
emphasized  in  a  Triad,  and  he  had  supreme  gifts  as  story-teller 
and  bard.  His  successful  raid  on  Prydcri's  pigs  which  came 
from  Annwfn  suggests  that,  like  Cuchulainn,  he  is  the  culture 
hero  bringing  domestic  animals  from  the  god's  land  to  earth, 
and  perhaps  for  this  reason  a  Triad  calls  him  one  of  the  three 
cowherds  of  Britain,  guarding  thousands  of  kine.  Irish  myth 
also  frequently  speaks  of  cattle  brought  from  the  sid.  Gwyd- 
ion's  name  reflects  his  character  as  an  inspired  bard,  if  it  is 
from  a  root  vet,  giving  words  meaning  "saying"  or  "poetry," 
cognate  terms  being  Irish  faith,  "prophet"  or  "poet,"  and 
Latin  vates.^  Gwydion  would  thus  be  equivalent  to  Ogma 
and  Ogmios,  gods  of  eloquence  and  letters,  and  a  late  manu- 
script says  he  first  taught  reading  and  knowledge  of  books  to 
the  Gaels  of  Anglesey  and  Ireland.  He  is  not  straightforward, 
however,  when  he  pretends  that  his  sister  Arianrhod  is  a  virgin, 
for  she  is  his  mistress  and  mother  of  his  sons,  an  incest  incident 
with  parallels  in  Irish  story. 

Arianrhod  consented  to  the  fraud  and  as  a  further  pretence 
to  chastity  disowned  Lieu;  yet  a  Triad  calls  her  one  of  the 
three  blessed  or  white  ladies  of  Britain.  Was  she  worshipped 
as  a  virgin  goddess,  while  myth  gave  her  a  different  character."* 
Celtic  goddesses,  like  the  Matres,  were  connected  with  fertility, 
and  goddesses  of  fertility  or  earth  are  apt  to  possess  a  double 
character,  like  the  great  Phrygian  Mother,  who  was  also  re- 
garded as  a  virgin. **     Arianrhod,  like  Aphrodite,  was  lovely; 


THE   MYTHS   OF  THE   BRITISH   CELTS        99 

"beauty-famed  beyond  summer's  dawn,"  sang  a  poet.^°  Her 
name  means  "silver  wheel." 

Much  that  is  said  of  Lieu  Is  insignificant  for  mythology, 
though  Rhys  has  built  a  large  structure  of  sun,  dawn,  and 
darkness  upon  it.  The  greater  part  of  it  is  a  well-known  folk- 
tale formula  attached  to  his  name  —  that  of  the  Unfaithful 
Wife.  It  is  doubtful  whether  Lieu  really  equals  Lug  merely 
because  their  uncles  are  respectively  Govannon  and  Gavida 
(Goibniu),  both  meaning  "smith";  for  while  Gavida  nurtured 
Lug,  and  Lug  slew  Balor,  Lieu  was  not  brought  up  by  Govan- 
non, and  the  latter  incident  has  no  equivalent  in  his  story. 
Moreover,  Lug  is  prominent  in  connexion  with  the  great 
Celtic  festival,  Lugnasad  (celebrated  on  the  first  of  August), 
but  Lieu  is  not.  Thus  his  mythological  significance  is  lost 
to  us. 

Math  caused  Dylan  to  be  baptized,  and  then  this  precocious 
baby  made  for  the  sea,  where  he  swam  like  a  fish;  no  billow 
broke  under  him,  and  he  was  called  "son  of  the  wave."  The 
blow  which  caused  his  death  came  from  Govannon  —  one  of 
the  three  nefarious  blows  of  Britain  —  but  is  otherwise  un- 
explained. The  waves  lamented  his  death,  and  ever,  as  they 
press  toward  the  land,  they  seek  to  avenge  it.^^  Perhaps  Dylan 
was  once  a  sea-god,  regarded  as  identical  with  the  waves,  like 
Manannan.  Tradition  speaks  of  the  noise  of  the  waters  pour- 
ing into  the  Conway  as  his  dying  groans,  and,  again  like 
Manannan,  son  of  Ler  (the  sea),  he  is  called  Dylan  Eil  Ton 
or  Mor  ("Son  of  the  Wave"  or  "Sea").i2  "As  soon  as  he 
entered  the  sea,  he  took  its  nature." 

Govannon's  functions  as  a  smith-god  are  illustrated  from  a 
reference  in  Kulhzvch  and  Olwen,  where  his  help  must  be  gained 
by  Kulhwch  to  attend  at  the  end  of  the  furrows  to  cleanse  the 
iron,^^  though  the  meaning  of  this  is  obscure.  In  a  Taliesin 
poem  he  and  Math  are  associated  as  artificers.^"*  Amsethon's 
name  suggests  that  his  functions  were  connected  with  agricuU 
ture  {amaeth,  "ploughman"  or  "labourer"),  and  this  is  illus- 


loo  CELTIC  MYTHOLOGY 

trated  by  the  fact  that  no  husbandmen  can  till  or  dress  a 
certain  field  for  Kulhwch,  "so  wild  Is  it,  save  Amsethon,  son  of 
Don;  he  will  not  follow  thee  of  his  own  free  will,  and  thou  canst 
not  force  him."^^  He  also  brought  animals  from  the  gods' 
land  —  a  roebuck,  whelp,  and  lapwing  belonging  to  Arawn  — 
and  this  led  to  the  battle  of  Godeu,  in  which,  aided  byGwyd- 
ion,  he  fought  Arawn.  Gwydion  changed  trees  and  sedges 
into  combatants,  as  he  had  transformed  fungus  into  hounds 
and  horses.  On  either  side  fought  personages  who  could  not 
be  vanquished  until  their  names  were  discovered,  but  Gwyd- 
ion affected  the  course  of  the  battle  by  finding  the  name  of 
Arawn's  mysterious  helper,  Bran  —  a  mythic  instance  of  the 
power  of  the  hidden  name,  once  it  becomes  known  to  another.'^ 

Whether  as  a  survival  from  myth  or  from  later  folk-belief, 
the  stars  are  associated  with  some  of  these  divinities.  The 
constellation  of  Cassiopeia  is  called  "Don's  Court";  Arianrhod 
is  connected  with  the  constellation  Corona  BoreaHs;  and  the 
Milky  Way  is  termed  "Gwydion's  Castle,"  because  he  fol- 
lowed it  in  chasing  Blodeuwedd  across  the  sky  —  an  obviously 
primitive  myth.^^ 

The  Mahinogion  of  Branwen  and  of  Manawyddan  are  con- 
nected and  concern  the  families  of  Pwyll  and  Llyr.^^  The 
Llyr  group  consists  of  his  sons.  Bran  and  Manawyddan;  their 
sister,  Branwen;  and  their  half-brother,  Nissyen  and  Evnissyen. 
As  Bran  sat  on  a  rock  at  Harlech,  vessels  arrived  bearing 
Matholwych,  King  of  Ireland,  as  a  suitor  for  Branwen.  He 
was  accepted,  and  a  feast  was  made  for  him  in  tents,  for  no 
house  could  hold  Bran.  But  Evnissyen  the  mischief-maker 
mutilated  Matholwych's  steeds,  and  the  king  indignantly 
left,  returning  only  when  Bran  gave  him  gifts,  including  a 
cauldron  which  restored  life  to  the  dead,  though  they  re- 
mained dumb.  This  cauldron  was  obtained  from  two  mys- 
terious beings  who  came  out  of  a  lake  in  Ireland,  the  man 
bearing  the  cauldron,  and  the  woman  about  to  give  birth  to 
an  armed  warrior;  but  they  and  their  descendants  were  so 


THE  MYTHS   OF  THE   BRITISH   CELTS       loi 

troublesome  that  they  were  imprisoned  in  a  white-hot  iron 
house,  whence  the  pair  escaped  to  Britain  with  their  cauldron 
—  an  incident  probably  borrowed  from  the  Ulster  tale  of  the 
Mesca  Ulad.  Matholwych  returned  to  Ireland  with  Branwen, 
and  there,  after  two  years,  in  retaliation  for  Evnissyen's  con- 
duct, she  was  placed  in  the  kitchen,  where  the  butcher  struck 
her  every  morning.  She  accordingly  sent  a  starling  to  Bran 
with  a  message,  whereupon  he  waded  over  to  Ireland,  his 
men  following  in  ships  and  crossing  the  Shannon  on  his  body. 
The  Irish  came  to  terms  and  built  Bran  a  vast  house,  in  which 
they  concealed  warriors  in  sacks;  but  Evnissyen  discovered 
this  and  crushed  them  one  by  one.  Peace  was  now  concluded, 
but  Evnissyen  again  caused  trouble  by  throwing  Branwen's 
child  into  the  fire.  In  the  fight  which  followed  the  Irish  were 
winning  because  they  restored  their  dead  in  the  cauldron; 
but  Evnissyen  smashed  it,  though  he  died  in  the  effort.  Bran 
was  slain,  and  seven  only  of  his  people  escaped,  including 
Pryderi,  Manawyddan,  and  Taliesin.  Bran  bade  them  cut 
off  his  head  and  bury  it  at  London,  looking  toward  France; 
and  they  reached  Anglesey  with  Branwen,  who  died  there  of  a 
broken  heart.  Meanwhile  Caswallawn,  son  of  Beli,  had  usurped 
the  kingdom,  Bran's  son  also  dying  of  sorrow.  As  Bran 
had  advised,  his  head-bearers  remained  at  Harlech  for  seven 
years,  feasting  and  listening  to  the  birds  of  Rhiannon  singing 
far  overhead;  and  at  Gwales  for  eighty  years,  the  head  enter- 
taining them  in  a  house  with  a  forbidden  door.  The  years 
passed  as  a  day,  until  one  of  the  men  opened  the  door,  when 
their  evils  were  remembered,  and  they  went  to  London  to 
bury  the  head. 

Manawyddan  having  lamented  that  he  was  landless,  Pryd- 
eri gave  him  land  in  Dyfed  and  his  mother  Rhiannon  as 
wife.  All  three,  with  Kicva,  Pryderi's  wife,  were  seated  on  a 
knoll  when  a  thunder-clap  was  heard;  and  as  the  cloud  which 
accompanied  it  cleared  away,  they  found  the  country  desolate, 
without  creature  or  habitation.     Lack  of  food  impelled  them 


102  CELTIC  MYTHOLOGY 

to  seek  a  living  as  saddlers,  shield-makers,  and  shoe-makers 
successively,  but  they  were  always  expelled  by  the  regular 
craftsmen.  One  day  they  pursued  a  boar  to  a  strange  castle, 
and  Pryderi  entered,  but  trying  to  lift  a  golden  cup,  his  hands 
stuck  fast  to  it,  nor  could  he  move  his  feet.  Manawyddan 
told  Rhiannon  of  Pryderi's  disappearance,  and  when  she 
sought  him,  she  met  the  same  fate,  until  at  another  clap  of 
thunder  the  castle  disappeared.  Manawyddan  and  KIcva,  as 
shoe-makers,  were  again  foiled  by  envious  cobblers,  and  he 
now  sowed  three  fields,  but  an  army  of  mice  ate  the  grain. 
One  of  these  he  caught  and  was  about  to  hang,  in  spite  of  the 
entreaties  of  Kicva,  of  a  clerk,  and  of  a  priest,  when  a  bishop 
appeared,  and  Manawyddan  bargained  to  give  up  the  mouse 
if  the  bishop  released  Pryderi  and  Rhiannon,  removed  the 
enchantment  from  Dyved,  and  told  him  who  and  what  the 
mouse  was.  The  bishop  was  Llwyd,  a  friend  of  Gwawl,  whom 
Pryderi's  father,  Pwyll,  had  insulted.  All  had  happened  in 
revenge  for  that:  the  mouse  was  Llwyd's  wife,  the  other  mice 
the  ladies  of  the  court.  Everything  was  now  restored;  Pryderi 
and  Rhiannon  reappeared;  and  Llwyd  agreed  to  seek  no  fur- 
ther revenge. 

While  the  framework  of  Branwen  is  connected  with  Scandi- 
navian and  German  sagas,  whether  borrowed  by  Welshmen 
from  their  Norse  allies  In  the  ninth  and  tenth  centuries, 
as  Nutt  supposed, ^^  or  by  Norsemen  from  Wales,  its  person- 
ages are  Celtic,  and  it  contains  many  native  elements.  Llyr 
Half-Speech  and  Manawyddan  are  the  equivalents  of  the 
Irish  sea-gods  Ler  and  Manannan,  the  latter  of  whom  Is  also 
associated  with  Elysium.  It  is  uncertain  whether  these  two 
were  common  to  Goldels  and  Brythons,  or  were  borrowed  by 
the  latter;  but  at  all  events  they  have  a  definite  position  in 
Welsh  tradition,  which  knows  of  two  other  Llyrs  —  Llyr 
Marini  and  Llyr,  father  of  Cordelia  in  GeoflFrey's  History  — 
Shakespeare's  Lear.^"  These  are  probably  varying  present- 
ments of  a  sea-god.    Llyr  is  sometimes  confused  with   Lludd 


THE   MYTHS   OF  THE   BRITISH   CELTS       103 

Llaw  Ereint,  or  "Silver-Hand."  A  Triad  represents  Gweir, 
Mabon,  and  Llyr  as  three  notable  prisoners  of  Britain;  but  in 
Kulhwch  these  are  Greit,  Mabon,  and  Lludd,  father  of  Cor- 
delia.^^  Are  Llyr  and  Lludd  identical,  and  is  an  Irish  Alloit, 
sometimes  called  father  of  Manannan,  the  equivalent  of 
Lludd  .^  All  this  is  uncertain.  Rhys  and  Loth  are  tempted  to 
correct  Lludd  into  Nudd,  an  earlier  Nodens  Lamargentios 
("Nudd  Silver-Hand")  having  been  changed  to  Lodens  (Lludd) 
Lamargentios  by  alliteration,  and  to  equate  him  with  the 
Irish  Nuada  Argetlam  ("Silver-Hand");  but  the  possibility 
of  such  an  alliterative  change  has  been  denied.  Nuada  is 
identified  with  the  British  god  Nodons;  but  though  Llyr  was 
a  sea-god,  there  is  no  proof  that  Nuada  or  Nodons  was  such, 
though  some  symbols  in  the  remains  of  the  temple  of  Nodons 
on  the  Severn  have  been  thought  to  suggest  this.^^  These, 
however,  are  not  decisive,  and  it  is  equally  possible 
that  the  god  was  equated  with  Mars  rather  than  with 
Neptune. 

Manawyddan,  whose  name  is  derived  from  Welsh  Manaw, 
the  Isle  of  Man,  is  much  more  humanized  in  Welsh  story  than 
the  divine  Manannan  of  the  Voyage  of  Bran;  yet  he  has  magic 
powers  and  great  superiority  as  a  craftsman.  He  is  associated 
with  Arthur  in  a  poem  and  is  praised  for  his  wise  counsels, 
while  Pryderi  was  instructed  by  him  in  various  crafts  and 
aided  by  him,  just  as  the  Irish  Diarmaid  was  nurtured  and 
taught  by  Manannan.  Rhiannon  may  have  been  introduced 
accidentally  into  the  story  —  "a  mere  invention  of  the  nar- 
rator in  order  to  give  sequence  to  the  narrative";  ^^  but  possi- 
bly she  is  Manawyddan's  real  consort,  not  one  given  him  by  her 
son.  If  so,  Pryderi  would  be  Manawyddan's  son,  not  Pwyll's, 
and  his  deliverance  of  Rhiannon  and  Pryderi  from  his  magi- 
cian foe  would  be  significant.^^  Rhiannon  appears  magically, 
like  Irish  goddesses  of  Elysium,  and  she  may  thus  have  been 
associated  with  Manawyddan  in  Elysium,  who  with  Pryderi  is 

Lord  of  Annwfn  in  a  Taliesin  poem  — 
III— 8 


104  CELTIC  iVnTHOLOGY 

"  Complete  is  my  chair  in  Caer  Sidi; 
Plague  and  age  hurt  not  him  who  is  in  it, 
They  know  Manawyddan  and  Pryderi; 
Three  organs  round  a  fire  sing  before  it, 
And  about  its  points  are  ocean's  streams. 
And  the  abundant  well  above  it  — 
Sweeter  than  white  wine  the  drink  of  it."  ^ 

Rhiannon's  magic  birds,  whose  song  brought  joy  and  oblivion 
for  seven  years,  like  that  of  Ler's  bird-children,^®  and  awoke  the 
dead  and  made  the  living  sleep,"  have  an  Elysian  note  and 
confirm  the  supposition  that  she  is  an  Elysian  goddess.  Be- 
yond that  we  need  not  go,  and  there  Is  nothing  to  connect 
her  with  the  dawn  or  the  moon. 

Branwen  or  Bronwen  ("White  Bosom")  has  no  definite 
traits.  Her  marriage  to  Matholwych  and  her  subsequent 
sufferings  recall  the  stories  of  Gudrun,  Kriemhild,  and  Signy; 
but  whether  she  ever  was  connected  as  a  goddess  of  fertility 
with  her  brother's  cauldron  of  regeneration  must  remain  an 
ingenious  conjecture,  not  supported  by  the  Mabinogi.  As  a 
sea-god's  daughter,  she  may  be  "the  Venus  of  the  northern 
sea,"  as  Elton  supposed, ^^  while  the  Black  Book  of  Caermar- 
then  calls  the  sea  "the  fountain  of  Venus,"  ^^  though  this  is, 
perhaps,  nothing  more  than  a  Classical  recollection.  Later 
romance  knew  her  as  Brangwaine,  the  confidante  of  Tristram 
and  Yseult,  giving  the  knight  the  love-potion  w^hlch  bound 
him  In  Illicit  amour  with  Yseult. 

Bran  is  a  more  obviously  mythological  figure,  and  his 
gigantic  size  is  an  earlier  or  later  method  of  indicating  his 
divinity.  His  buried  head  protected  the  land  from  Invasion 
—  a  mythical  expression  of  actual  custom  —  for  bodies  and 
heads  of  warriors  had  apotropaic  virtues  and  were  sometimes 
exhibited  or  buried  in  the  direction  whence  danger  was  ex- 
pected.^" Hence  the  Image  of  a  divine  head  might  have  greater 
powers,  and  this  may  explain  the  existence  of  Celtic  Images 
of  a  god's  head,  often  In  triple  form.  These  figures,  found  In 
Gaul,  were  believed  by  Rh^s  to  be  Images  of  Cernunnos,  a 


THE  MYTHS  OF  THE  BRITISH  CELTS      105 

god  of  the  Celtic  underworld,  which  he  regarded  as  a  dark 
region,  contrary  to  all  that  we  can  gather  of  it,  while  Bran 
was  the  Brythonic  equivalent  of  Cernunnos  and  was  slain  by  a 
sun-hero,  his  wading  to  Ireland  representing  his  crossing  the 
waters  to  Hades,  like  Yama,  there  to  reign  as  lord  of  the  dead.^^ 
The  heads,  however,  can  be  explained  only  conjecturally  as 
heads  of  Cernunnos.  The  exigencies  of  the  story  demanded 
that  Ireland  should  be  brought  in,  and  as  Bran  had  to  reach  it 
somehow,  it  was  easiest  to  make  the  gigantic  god  wade  there; 
if  the  parallel  with  Yama  were  true,  Bran  should  have  died 
before  crossing  the  water  of  death.  Yama's  realm  was  not 
"dark,"  but  a  heavenly  region  of  light,  like  the  Celtic  other- 
world,  even  if  the  latter,  unlike  the  former,  was  subterranean. 
Far  from  being  "dark,"  Bran  is  bright  and  cheerful  and  has 
Elysian  traits.  Eighty  years  are  as  a  day,  and  men  think  only 
of  feasting  and  happiness  in  the  presence  of  his  head,  which  is  as 
agreeable  to  them  as  he  himself  was  in  life;  it  produces  an  Elys- 
ium on  earth,  which  is  lost  through  opening  a  door,  exactly  as 
others  lose  it  and  become  decrepit  through  contact  with  earth. 
Thus  if  Bran,  sitting  on  the  rock  at  Harlech  or  existing  as  a 
talking  head  afterward  solemnly  buried,  like  Orpheus's  singing 
head  interred  in  a  sacred  place,  is  the  equivalent  of  the  squat- 
ting Gaulish  god  Cernunnos,  perhaps  also  represented  as  a  single 
or  triple  head,  this  can  only  be  because  both  were  lords  of  a 
bright  other-world,  whether  the  region  of  the  dead  or  a  divine 
land.  Bran  is  certainly  not  a  dark  god  of  blight,  but  rather 
the  reverse,  since  his  cauldron  resuscitates  the  dead.  In  cross- 
ing to  Ireland  he  carried  his  musicians  on  his  back,  and  this 
may  point  to  his  being  a  divinity  of  musicians  and  bards.  If 
so,  he,  as  the  Urdawl  Ben  ("Noble  Head"),  may  be  compared 
to  the  Uthr  Ben  ("Wonderful  Head")  of  a  Taliesin  poem, 
which  boasted  of  being  a  bard,  harper,  and  piper,  and  equal  to 
seven  score  professionals.^^  Arthur  disinterred  Bran's  head, 
not  wishing  to  owe  the  defence  of  Britain  to  it. 

Bran  was  euhemerized  into  a  British  king  who  was  confused 


io6  CELTIC  MYTHOLOGY 

with  Brennus,  leader  of  the  Gauis  In  the  sack  of  Rome,  390 
B.  c,  and  was  transformed  into  a  conqueror  of  Gaul  and 
Rome.^^  He  also  figures  as  a  saint,  Bran  the  Blessed,  if  that 
was  not  already  a  pagan  epithet;  and  remaining  at  Rome 
seven  years  as  hostage  with  his  son  Caradawc,  he  brought 
Christianity  thence  to  the  Cymry.  Caradawc  is  here  the  his- 
toric Caratacus,  who  was  carried  prisoner  to  Rome,  but  there 
is  confusion  with  a  Caradawc  ("Great  Arms,"  or  "Prince  of 
Combat"),  son  of  Llyr  Marini,  about  whom  a  saga  may  have 
existed.  In  any  case  Bran  was  regarded  as  head  of  one  of  the 
three  saintly  families  of  Britain. ^^ 

In  the  Mabinogi  of  Branwen,  Caswallawn,  clothed  in  a 
mantle  of  invisibility,  destroyed  the  heroes  of  Britain  and 
usurped  the  kingdom,  leaving  Manawyddan  landless;  and 
though  his  sister  was  married  to  Llyr,  he  was  hostile  to  Llyr's 
descendants.  Caswallawn,  Lludd,  Llevelys,  and  Nynnyaw 
were  sons  of  Beli,  although  Geoffrey  makes  his  Lear  long  pre- 
cede Beli  or  Heli  as  king,  while  he  also  introduces  a  Belinus 
and  confuses  Caswallawn  with  Cassivellaunus,  Caesar's  foe.^* 
Beli  and  Belinus  may  represent  the  god  Belenos,  who  was 
equated  with  Apollo;  and  Beli  is  victorious  champion  of  the 
land  and  the  preserver  of  its  qualities  in  a  Taliesin  poem,  in 
which  the  singer  implores  him  ^'^  —  perhaps  a  reminiscence  of 
earlier  divine  traits.  A  Triad  calls  Beli  father  of  Arianrhod, 
and  Rhys,  assuming  that  this  is  Arianrhod,  the  daughter  of 
Don,  makes  Don  consort  of  Beli,  equates  Don  with  Danu,  and, 
without  the  slightest  evidence,  assigns  to  Danu  as  consort  the 
shadowy  figure  Bile,  father  of  Mile,  invented  by  Irish  annal- 
ists. Beli  and  Bile  are  then  equated  with  the  Celtic  Dispater, 
the  divine  ancestor  of  the  Celtic  race,  whom  he  assumes  to 
have  been  a  "dark"  god,  ruling  a  "dark"  underworld. ^^  All 
this  is  modern  mythologizing. 

Caswallawn  is  confused  in  the  Triads  with  Cassivellaunus,  a 
warrior  who  may  have  been  named  after  him;  and  he  is  called 
"war-king,"  an  epithet  which  may  recall  his  divine  functions, 


PLATE  XI 

Gauls  and  Romans  in  Combat 

Bas-relief  from  a  sarcophagus  found  near  Rome. 


THE   MYTHS   OF  THE   BRITISH   CELTS       107 

those  of  a  god  invisibly  leading  armies  to  battle  and  embodied 
in  chiefs  who  bore  his  name.  Yet  the  epithet  might  be  that  of 
actual  warriors,  just  as  the  German  Emperor  calls  himself  the 
"war-lord." 

Lludd,as  King,  rebuilt  London  orCaer  Ludd,  and  was  buried 
at  Ludgate  Hill,  which  thus  preserves  his  name  and  points  to 
an  earlier  cult  of  Lludd  at  this  place.^*  He  is  also  said  to  have 
been  enclosed  in  a  narrow  prison  —  an  unexplained  reference 
to  some  tale  now  lost.  In  the  story  of  Lludd  and  Llevelys  ^^  his 
country  of  Britain  was  subjected  to  three  plagues  —  the  Cora- 
nians  who  heard  every  whisper,  like  Math  Hen;  a  shriek  on 
May-Eve  caused  by  a  foreign  dragon  attacking  the  dragon  of 
the  land  and  producing  wide-spread  desolation;  and  the  mys- 
terious disappearance  of  a  year's  supply  of  food.  Llevelys  bade 
Lludd  bruise  certain  insects  in  water  and  throw  the  mixture 
over  his  assembled  people  and  the  Coranians;  the  latter  alone 
would  be  poisoned  by  it.  The  dragons  were  to  be  made  drunk 
with  mead  and  then  buried.  The  third  plague  was  caused  by  a 
magician  who  lulled  every  one  to  sleep  and  then  carried  off  the 
provisions;  but  Lludd  was  to  keep  awake  by  plunging  into 
cold  water  and  then  to  capture  the  giant,  who  would  become 
his  vassal.  This  last  plague  recalls  "the  hand  of  glory,"  the 
hand  of  a  new-born  infant  or  a  criminal,  which,  anointed  with 
grease  and  ignited,  rendered  a  robber  invisible  and  caused 
every  one  to  sleep  in  whatever  house  the  thief  entered.  Treasure 
was  also  discovered  by  its  means,  and  as  Dousterswivel  in 
Scott's  Antiquary  said,  "he  who  seeksh  for  treasuresh  shall 
never  find  none  at  all,"  to  which  the  Antiquary  replied,  "I 
dare  take  my  corporal  oath  of  that  conclusion."  Whether  this 
episode  of  the  story  is  based  on  such  a  folk-belief  is  not  clear. 
As  a  whole  nation  suffers  from  the  plagues,  and  as  two  of  them 
affect  fertility  and  plenty,  the  origin  of  the  tale  may  be  found 
in  the  mythical  contest  of  divine  powers  with  hostile  potencies 
of  blight,  as  at  Mag-Tured.'*^  In  a  Triad  the  plague  of  the 
Coranians  is  called  that  of  March  Malaen  from  beyond  the 


io8  CELTIC  MYTHOLOGY 

sea;*^  and  March  suggests  the  Fomorlan  More,  who  taxed 
the  Nemedians  in  two-thirds  of  their  children,  corn,  and  milk 
on  November-Eve.^  The  Welsh  plagues,  however,  occur  at  Bel- 
tane, i.  e.  at  the  beginning  of  summer,  rather  than  winter,  as 
might  be  expected.  Lludd  is  praised  for  generosity  in  giving 
meat  and  drink  —  the  attribute  of  a  kindly  god.  The  Cora- 
nians  are  connected  with  Welsh  cor  ("dwarf")  and  are  still 
known  as  mischievous  fairies. 

In  connexion  with  such  dwarfs  it  is  interesting  to  note  that  a 
dwarf  fairy-folk  is  described  by  Giraldus  Cambrensis  (1147- 
1223).  Two  of  them  took  the  priest  Elidurus,  when  a  boy, 
through  subterranean  passages  to  a  delightful  region,  whose 
people  lived  on  milk  and  saffron,  swore  no  oaths,  and  contemned 
human  ambition  and  inconstancy.  Elidurus  frequently  visited 
them,  but  being  persuaded  by  his  mother  to  steal  their  gold,  he 
was  pursued  and  the  gold  was  taken  from  him,  after  which  he 
never  again  found  the  way  to  fairy-land.'*^  Save  for  their  size, 
these  fairies  recall  the  Tuatha  De  Danann,  dwelling  in  the  sid. 

Gwyn,  son  of  Nudd,  is  connected  both  with  Annwfn  and  also 
in  later  belief  with  fairy-land.'*^  He  was  a  great  magician  and  a 
mighty  warrior  —  "the  hope  of  armies"  —  while  his  horse  was 
also  "the  torment  of  battle";'*"  without  him  and  a  certain 
steed  named  Du,  the  monster  boar,  the  Twrch  Trwyth,  could 
not  be  caught  by  Kulhwch.  Gwyn  abducted  Creidylad  (Cor- 
delia), daughter  of  Lludd,  who  was  afhanced  to  Gwythur;  but 
in  the  fight  which  followed  Gwyn  was  victor  and  forced  one  of 
his  foes  to  eat  his  dead  father's  heart  so  that  he  became  mad. 
Arthur  interfered,  however,  and  ordered  that  Creidylad  should 
remain  with  her  father,  while  Gwyn  and  Gwythur  must  fight 
for  her  every  day  until  doom,  when  she  would  be  given  to  the 
victor.^  This  story  is  illustrated  by  folk-survivals.  On  May- 
day in  the  Isle  of  Man  a  girl  representing  the  May  Queen  was 
attended  by  a  captain  and  several  others;  and  there  was  also  a 
Queen  of  Winter  with  her  company.  The  two  bands  met  in 
mock  battle,  and  if  the  May  Queen  was  captured,  her  men  had 


THE   MYTHS  OF  THE   BRITISH   CELTS       109 

to  ransom  her.*^  Ritual  combats  between  representatives  of 
summer  and  winter  occur  among  the  folk  everywhere  and  in 
origin  symbolized  the  defeat  of  winter,  as  well  as  actually 
aided  the  gods  of  light  and  growth.  The  story  of  Creidylad  is 
perhaps  the  debris  of  an  old  myth  explaining  the  reason  of  such 
a  contest  when  its  real  purpose  was  forgotten. 

Another  group  of  divine  personages  is  found  In  the  Hanes 
Taliesin,  which  was  written  In  the  sixteenth  or  seventeenth 
century,  although  references  to  Incidents  in  it  occur  in  far  ear- 
lier poems  In  the  Book  of  Taliesin  and  presuppose  its  existence 
in  some  form  when  they  were  composed.  It  contains  mythical 
elements  which  introduce  old  divinities,  a  culture  hero  or  god, 
Taliesin,  and  the  conceptions  of  inspiration,  rebirth,  and  shape- 
shifting,  the  last  being  expressed  in  the  folk-tale  formula  of  the 
Transformation  Combat,  as  It  already  is  in  one  of  the  poems.^^ 
Taliesin  Is  unknown  to  the  Mabinogion,  save  as  a  bearer  of 
Bran's  head,  and  this  suggests  his  local  character,  while  the 
saga  was  probably  developed  in  a  district  to  the  south  of  the 
estuary  of  the  Dyfi.'*^  Before  story  or  poem  was  written,  three 
facts  concerning  his  mythic  history  must  have  been  remem- 
bered —  his  inspiration,  his  shape-shifting  powers,  and  his 
being  the  rebirth  of  Gwion.  Whether  or  not  there  was  an 
actual  poet  called  Taliesin  living  in  the  sixth  or,  as  his  latest 
translator  and  commentator,  Mr.  J.  G.  Evans,  thinks.  In  the 
thirteenth  century,  it  is  certain  that  his  poems  contain  many 
mythical  references  which  must  once  have  been  told  of  a  myth- 
ical being  doubtless  bearing  the  same  name  as  himself. 

Tegid  the  Bald  lived  in  Lake  Tegid  (Bala)  with  his  wife 
Cerridwen,  their  beautiful  daughter  Crelrwy,  and  their  sons 
Morvran  and  Avagddu,  the  latter  the. most  ill-favoured  of 
men,  although  Morvran  ("Sea-Crow")  is  elsewhere  said  to 
have  been  also  of  repellent  aspect.  Cerridwen  wished  to  com- 
pensate Avagddu  by  giving  him  knowledge,  so  that  he  might 
have  entry  among  men  of  standing;  and  with  the  aid  of  the 
books  of  FfergU  (Vergil)  she  prepared  a  cauldron  of  inspiration 


no  CELTIC  MYTHOLOGY 

and  science  to  boil  for  a  year.  While  she  went  to  gather  herbs 
of  virtue,  she  set  the  blind  Mordu  to  kindle  the  fire  and  Gwion 
to  stir  the  pot;  but  three  drops  from  it  fell  on  his  finger,  which 
he  put  in  his  mouth,  and  he  found  himself  master  of  knowledge, 
which  taught  him  to  flee  from  Cerridwen's  rage.  Here  follows 
the  incident  of  the  Transformation  Combat,  with  the  goddess 
as  a  hen  finally  swallowing  Gwion  as  a  grain. ^°  She  later  gave 
birth  to  him,  and  wrapping  him  up  in  a  hide,  placed  him  in  the 
sea.  At  Gwydno's  weir  the  value  of  a  hundred  pounds  was 
found  every  first  of  May,  and  Elphin  was  to  obtain  whateverwas 
discovered  on  the  next  occasion,  which  proved  to  be  the  child. 
When  the  package  was  opened,  Gwydno  exclaimed,  "Here  is 
a  fine  or  radiant  brow"  or  "fine  profit"  {tal  iessin),  whence 
Elphin  named  the  child  Taliesin,  and  the  infant  sang  and 
showed  how  deep  was  his  knowledge.  He  was  nurtured  by 
Elphin  and  became  one  of  the  greatest  of  bards.  Now  Elphin 
had  boasted  at  court  that  he  had  a  more  virtuous  wife  and  a 
better  bard  than  any  there,  whence  he  was  imprisoned  until 
his  claim  was  verified.  Rhun  was  sent  to  seduce  his  wife,  but 
Taliesin  put  a  servant  in  her  place,  and  she  fell  victim  to  Rhun^ 
who  cut  off  her  finger  with  her  mistress's  ring.  When  Elphin 
was  confronted  with  it,  he  showed  an  ingenuity  equal  to  that 
of  Sherlock  Holmes  in  proving  that  the  finger  was  not  his 
wife's  —  the  ring  was  too  tight,  the  finger-nail  was  uncut,  and  on 
herfingersome  flourhad  remained  from  her  baking.  Nowhis  wife 
never  baked;  she  cut  her  finger-nails  weekly;  and  the  ring  was 
loose  even  on  her  thumb.  Taliesin  next  came  forward  and  by 
his  spells  made  the  other  bards  utter  nonsense.  He  sang  of  his 
origin  —  "the  region  of  the  summer  stars"  —  his  existence  in 
long  past  ages,  from  that  of  Lucifer's  fall  to  the  days  of  the 
Patriarchs,  and  his  life  at  the  Nativity  and  Crucifixion  of 
Christ,  and  referred  to  his  birth  from  Cerridwen.  Then  the 
castle  shook;  Elphin  was  summoned;  and  as  Taliesin  sang  his 
chains  fell  from  him.^^ 

The  latter  part  of  the  story  is  purely  romantic,  but  in  poems 


THE   MYTHS   OF  THE   BRITISH   CELTS       iii 

ascribed  to  Taliesin  and  in  a  Triad  his  greatness  as  the  "chief 

of  bards"  appears  — 

"With  me  is  the  splendid  chair, 
The  inspiration  of  fluent  and  urgent  song." 

He  has  been  with  the  gods  and  ranks  himself  as  one  of  them, 
telling  how  he  was  created  and  enchanted  by  them  before  he 
became  immortal;  ^^  he  has  a  chair  not  only  on  earth  but  in 
the  gods'  land.^^  Taliesin  was  the  ideal  bard,  a  god  of  inspira- 
tion like  Ogma,  and,  besides  his  reincarnation,  his  birth  from 
Cerridwen  shows  his  divine  nature.  Yet,  like  other  semi- 
divine  personages  connected  with  inspiration  or  culture,  he 
obtains  his  powers  by  accident  or  by  force.  One  myth,  that 
of  the  cauldron,  shows  the  former  and  is  parallel  to  the  story 
of  Fionn  and  the  salmon;  ^^  but  in  another,  darkly  referred  to 
in  a  poem,  he  with  Arthur  and  many  companions  goes  overseas 
to  Caer  Sidi  for  the  spoils  of  Annwfn,  including  the  cauldron 
of  Pen  Annwfn.^^  Here,  whether  successfully  or  not,  the  gifts 
of  culture  and  inspiration  are  sought  by  force  or  craft.  Are 
two  separate  myths  combined  in  the  Hanes  Taliesin,  one  making 
Taliesin  son  of  a  goddess  with  an  abode  in  the  divine  land;  the 
other  viewing  him  as  a  culture  hero,  stealing  the  gifts  of  the 
gods'  land,  and  therefore  obnoxious  to  Cerridwen.''  And  if  so, 
do  these  myths  "reflect  the  encroachment  of  the  cult  of  a  god 
on  that  of  a  goddess,  his  worshippers  regarding  him  as  her  son, 
her  worshippers  reflecting  their  hostility  to  the  new  god  in  a 
myth  of  her  enmity  to  him".?  ^^ 

Taliesin  was  supreme  in  shape-shifting  and  rebirth.  Of  no 
other  Brythonic  god  or  hero  is  the  latter  asserted,  and  several 
poems  obscurely  enumerate  various  forms  which  he  assumed 
and  recount  his  adventures  in  them.  When,  however,  the  poet, 
speaking  in  his  name,  asserts  that  he  has  been  a  sword,  tear, 
word,  book,  coracle,  etc.,  it  is  obvious  that  this  is  mere  bardic 
nonsense  and  not  pantheism,  as  some  have  suggested.  The 
claims  of  Taliesin  and  of  the  Irish  Amairgen  resemble  those  of 
the  Eskimo  angakok,  who  has  the  entree  of  the  other-world  and 


112  CELTIC  M^T^HOLOGY 

can  transform  himself  at  will;  "  and  the  gift  of  transformation 
and  rebirth  is  then  associated  with  inspiration  in  the  Hanes 
Taliesin.  Here  the  equation  with  Fionn  and  Oisin,  already 
noted  by  J.  G.  Campbell  and  accepted  by  Rhys,  is  worth  ob- 
serving. Fionn  and  Gwion  obtain  inspiration  accidentally. 
Fionn  is  reborn,  not  as  Oisin,  but  as  Mongan,  and  Gwion  as 
Taliesin.  Oisin  and  Taliesin  are  both  bards,  and  Oisin's  name 
is  perhaps  equivalent  to  -essin  or  -eisin  in  Taliesin.  Taliesin's 
shape-shifting  has  no  parallel  with  Fionn  or  Oisin,  but  Oisin's 
mother  and,  in  one  tradition,  Fionn's  also  became  a  fawn. 
Thus  inspiration,  rebirth,  and  shape-shifting  are  attached  to 
different  personages  in  different  ways,  showing  that  mythical 
elements  common  to  the  Celtic  race  have  been  employed. 

Tegid  is  a  god  of  the  world  under  waters,  but  is  not  other- 
wise known  to  existing  myth;  though  he  and  Cerridwen,  pos- 
sessor of  a  cauldron,  are  perhaps  parallel  to  the  giant  pair  out 
of  a  lake  with  their  cauldron  in  Branzven,  Cerridwen  being  a 
local  goddess  of  inspiration,  as  her  cauldron  of  knowledge  shows. 
The  Celtic  mythical  cauldron,  bestowing  knowledge,  plenty 
(like  Dagda's),  and  life  (Hke  Bran's), ^^  is  recognizable  as  a 
property  of  the  gods'  land;  but  it  was  dangerous,  and  a  bard 
sings  of  his  chair  being  defended  from  Cerridwen's  cauldron. ^^ 
Cerridwen  was  regarded  as  a  daughter  of  Ogyrven,  from  whose 
cauldron  came  three  muses,  and  who  was  perhaps  an  epony- 
mous deity  of  the  elements  of  language,  poetry,  and  the  letters 
of  the  alphabet,  called  ogyrvens,  as  well  as  a  god  of  bards. 
Cerridwen  is  styled  "the  ogyrven  of  various  seeds,  those  of 
poetic  harmony,  the  exalted  spirit  of  the  minstrel";  but 
ogyrven  also  means  "a  spiritual  form,"  "a  personified  idea," 
and  may  here  be  equivalent  to  "goddess."  ^°  Thus  Cerridwen 
was  a  deity  of  inspiration,  like  Brigit,  though,  like  other  Celtic 
goddesses,  her  primary  function  may  have  been  with  fertility, 
of  which  the  cauldron,  supplying  plenty  and  giving  life,  is  a 
symbol.   She  is  also  called  a  "goddess  of  grain."  ^^ 

Tegid's  water-world  is  the  land  under  waves  of  Irish  myth  — 


PLATE  XII 

Three-Headed  God 

The  statue,  adorned  with  torques,  was  once 
homed.  For  another  representation  of  this  divinity, 
perhaps  a  deity  of  the  underworld,  see  Plate  VII. 
Found  at  Condat,  France. 


THE   MYTHS  OF  THE   BRITISH   CELTS       113 

one  aspect  of  Elysium,  examples  of  which  have  already  been 
considered.  Another  instance  occurs  in  the  Voyage  of  Maelduin, 
where  the  voyagers  reach  a  sea,  beneath  which  is  descried  a 
country  with  castles,  men,  and  cattle;  but  in  a  tree  is  a  great 
beast  eating  an  ox,  and  the  sight  so  terrifies  them  that  they 
sail  quickly  away.  In  another  story  Murough  is  invited  to 
come  below  the  waters.  He  dives  down  and  reaches  the  land 
of  King  Under- Waves,  whom  he  sees  sitting  on  a  golden  throne; 
a  year  spent  there  feasting  seems  but  a  few  days.  Welsh  tradi- 
tion has  also  m.any  stories  of  water-worlds,  as  well  as  of  fairy 
brides,  daughters  of  the  lord  of  the  lake,  and  cattle  which  came 
thence.^^  In  a  Christianized  Irish  version  of  the  conception  a 
bishop  from  time  to  time  visited  a  monastery  beneath  the 
waters  of  a  lake,  finally  disappearing  from  his  own  monastery, 
none  knew  whither.^^ 


CHAPTER   IX 
THE   DIVINE   LAND 

ELYSIUM,  called  by  many  beautiful  Celtic  names,  is  the 
gods'  land  and  is  never  associated  with  the  dead.  The 
living  were  occasionally  invited  there,  however,  and  either 
remained  perpetually  or  returned  to  earth,  where  sometimes 
they  found  themselves  decrepit  and  aged;  time  had  lapsed 
like  a  dream,  because  they  were  in  the  immortal  land  and  had 
tasted  its  immortal  food.  Many  tales  already  cited  have 
shown  different  conceptions  of  its  situation  —  in  the  sid,  on 
a  mysterious  island,  or  beneath  the  waters;  or  the  gods  create 
it  on  earth  or  produce  it  by  glamour  to  mortal  eyes.  Occa- 
sionally such  conceptions  are  mingled.  These  legends  have 
illustrated  its  marvellous  beauty,  its  supernatural  fruit  trees 
and  music,  its  unfailing  and  satisfying  food  and  drink,  and 
the  deathless  glory  and  youth  of  its  people. 

The  tales  now  to  be  summarized  will  throw  further  light 
upon  its  nature.  The  first  of  these.  The  Voyage  of  Bran^  is  an 
old  pagan  myth  retold  in  prose  and  verse  in  the  seventh  or 
eighth  century  by  a  Christian  editor,  interested  in  the  past. 
Bran,  son  of  Febal,  one  day  heard  music  behind  him  produced 
by  a  woman  from  unknown  lands,  i.  e.  from  Elysium.  Lulled 
by  its  sweetness,  he  slept,  and  on  awaking  found  by  his  side 
a  musical  branch  of  silver  with  white  blossoms.  Taking  it 
into  his  royal  house,  he  there  saw  the  woman,  who  sang  of 
the  wondrous  isle  whence  she  had  brought  the  branch.  Four 
feet  of  white  bronze  upheld  it,  and  on  its  plains  were  glisten- 
ing, coloured  splendours.  Music  swelled  there;  wailing, 
treachery,  harshness,  grief,  sorrow,  sickness,  age,  and    death 


THE   DIVINE   LAND  115 

were  unknown.  An  exquisite  haze  hung  over  it,  and  its  people 
listened  to  the  sweet  music,  drinking  wine  the  while;  laughter 
pealed  there  and  everlasting  joy.  Thrice  fifty  Islands  lay  to 
the  west  of  it,  each  double  or  triple  the  size  of  Erin.  The 
woman  then  prophesied  of  Christ's  birth,  and  after  she  had 
urged  Bran  to  sail  till  he  reached  Tir  na  m-Ban  ("the  Land 
of  Women"),  she  disappeared,  the  branch  leaping  from  Bran's 
hand  into  hers. 

Next  day  Bran  sailed  with  twenty-seven  men,  and  on  the 
voyage  they  saw  Manannan  driving  his  chariot  over  the 
waves.  The  god  sang  to  the  voyagers  and  told  how  he  was 
passing  over  a  flowery  plain,  for  what  Bran  saw  as  the  sea  was 
to  Manannan  a  plain.  The  speckled  salmon  in  the  sea  were 
calves  and  lambs,  and  steeds  invisible  to  Bran  were  there  also. 
People  were  sitting  playing  and  drinking  wine,  and  making  love 
without  crime.  Bran's  coracle  was  not  on  the  waves,  but  on 
an  immortal  wood,  yielding  fruit  and  perfume;  the  folk  of 
that  land  were  immortal  and  sinless,  unlike  Adam's  descend- 
ants, and  in  it  rivers  poured  forth  honey.  Finally  Manannan 
bade  Bran  row  to  Tir  na  m-Ban,  which  he  would  reach  by 
sunset. 

Bran  first  came  to  an  isle  of  laughter;  and  when  one  of  his 
men  was  sent  ashore,  he  refused  to  leave  the  laughing  folk  of 
this  Isle  of  Joy.  At  the  Land  of  Women  their  Queen  wel- 
comed Bran,  throwing  a  ball  of  thread  which  cleaved  to  his 
hand,  and  by  which  the  boat  was  drawn  ashore.  All  now  went 
into  a  house  where  were  twenty-seven  beds,  one  for  each; 
the  food  never  grew  less  and  for  each  man  it  had  the  taste 
which  he  desired.  They  stayed  for  a  year,  though  it  was  in 
truth  many  years;  but  home-sickness  at  last  seized  one  of 
them,  Nechtan,  so  that  he  and  the  others  begged  Bran  to  re- 
turn. The  Queen  said  they  would  rue  this,  yet  as  they  were 
bent  on  going,  she  bade  them  not  set  foot  on  Erin  and  to  take 
with  them  their  comrade  from  the  Isle  of  Joy.  When  Erin 
was  reached.  Bran  told  his  name  to  the  men  gathered  on  the 


Ii6  CELTIC  MYTHOLOGY 

shore;  but  they  said,  "We  do  not  know  him,  though  the  voyage 
of  Bran  is  in  our  ancient  stories."  Nechtan  now  leaped  ashore, 
but  when  his  foot  touched  land,  he  became  a  heap  of  ashes. 
Bran  then  told  his  wanderings  and  bade  farewell  to  the  crowd, 
returning  presumably  to  the  divine  land.  "From  that  hour 
his  wanderings  are  not  known."  ^ 

Manannan's  land  overseas  is  the  subject  of  a  convention- 
alized tale  in  the  Colloquy  of  the  Ancients  {Acallamh  na  Seno- 
rach),  which  contains  primitive  material.  One  of  Fionn's 
men,  Ciabhan,  embarked  with  two  youths,  Lodan  and  Eolus, 
sons  of  the  Kings  of  India  and  of  Greece;  and  during  a  storm 
Manannan  appeared  riding  over  the  waves.  "For  the  space  of 
nine  waves  he  would  be  submerged  in  the  sea,  but  would  rise 
on  the  crest  of  the  tenth,  and  that  without  his  breast  or  chest 
wetted."  He  rescued  them  on  condition  of  fealty  to  himself, 
and  drawing  them  on  his  horse,  brought  them  to  the  Land  of 
Promise.  Having  passed  the  loch  of  dwarfs,  they  came  to 
Manannan's  stone  fort,  where  food,  wine,  and  music  delighted 
them;  and  where  they  saw  Manannan's  folk  perform  many 
tricks,  which  they  themselves  were  able  to  imitate.  In  the 
Land  of  Promise  were  three  beautiful  sisters,  Clidna,  Aeife, 
and  Edaein,  who  eloped  with  the  visitors  in  two  boats,  Clidna 
going  along  with  Ciabhan.  When  he  reached  Erin,  he  went 
ashore  to  hunt,  and  now  a  great  wave,  known  ever  after  as 
Clidna's  wave,  rolled  in  and  drowned  her,  overwhelming  at 
the  same  time  Manannan's  men,  Ildathach  and  his  sons,  both 
in  love  with  Clidna  and  following  in  pursuit  of  her.  A  diflFcrent 
account  of  Clidna  has  already  been  cited. ^ 

In  the  story  of  Bran,  the  queen-goddess  fell  in  love  with 
him  and  visited  him  (as  in  the  legend  of  Connla)  to  induce 
him  to  come  to  her.  While  there  are  hints  of  other  inhabitants, 
women  or  goddesses  alone  exist  on  this  island  —  an  additional 
parallel  to  the  story  of  Connla,  though  there  the  island  has 
a  king;  to  the  incident  in  Maelduin;  and  to  the  name  "Land 
of  Ever-Living  Women"  in  the  Dind'senchas  of  Tuag  Inbir. 


PLATE  XIII 

SUCELLOS 

This  divinity,  characterized  by  a  hammer  (cf.  p. 
9),  was  a  ruler  of  the  underworld  (cf.  the  represen- 
tation of  Dispater  with  a  hammer,  Plate  XIV).  A 
benevolent  god,  his  hammer  is  a  symbol  of  creative 
force.  The  artistic  type  (for  another  instance  of 
which  see  Plate  XXVI)  was  influenced  by  that  of 
the  Alexandrian  Serapis  and  the  Classical  Hades- 
Pluto.  Cf.  also  Plate  IX,  B.  The  figure  was  found 
at  Premeaux,  France. 


THE   DIVINE   LAND  117 

Another  instance  occurs  in  a  Fionn  story.  Fionn  and  his  men 
were  hunting  when  there  met  them  a  huge  and  beautiful 
woman,  whose  finger-rings  were  as  thick  as  three  ox-goads. 
She  was  Bebhionn  from  Maidens'  Land  in  the  west,  where 
all  the  inhabitants  were  women  save  their  father  (its  king) 
and  his  three  sons;  and  for  the  third  time  she  had  escaped 
from  her  husband,  son  of  the  King  of  the  adjacent  Isle  of  Men, 
and  had  come  to  seek  Fionn's  protection.  As  she  sat  by  him 
and  GoU,  however,  her  huge  husband  came,  and  slaying  her, 
eluded  the  heroes'  pursuit,  vanishing  overseas  in  a  boat  with 
two  rowers.' 

The  tradition  of  the  Isle  of  Women  still  exists  in  Celtic  folk- 
lore. Such  an  island  was  on^y  a  part  of  the  divine  land  and 
may  have  originated  in  myth  from  actual  custom  —  women 
living  upon  or  going  at  certain  periods  to  small  islands  to  per- 
form rites  generally  tabu  to  men,  a  custom  to  which  reference 
is  made  by  Strabo  and  Pomponius  Mela.^ 

That  the  gods  could  create  an  Elysium  on  earth  has  been 
found  in  the  story  of  Lug  and  Dechtire,  and  another  instance 
occurs  in  the  tale  of  Cormac  mac  Art,  King  of  Ireland  in  the 
third  century,  of  whom  an  annalist  records  that  he  disappeared 
for  seven  months  in  248  a.  d.,  a  reference  to  the  events  of  this 
story.  To  Cormac  appeared  a  young  man  with  a  branch  from 
which  hung  nine  apples  of  gold;  and  when  this  was  shaken, 
it  produced  strange  music,  hearing  which  every  one  forgot  his 
troubles  and  fell  asleep.  He  came  from  a  land  where  there 
was  nought  save  truth,  and  where  was  no  age,  nor  decay,  nor 
gloom,  nor  sadness,  nor  envy,  nor  jealousy,  nor  weeping;  and 
Cormac  said  that  to  possess  the  branch  he  would  give  what- 
ever was  asked,  whereupon  the  stranger  answered,  "give  me 
then  thy  wife,  thy  son  and  daughter."  Cormac  agreed  and 
now  told  his  bargain  to  his  wife,  who,  like  her  children,  was 
sorrowful  that  he  should  have  preferred  the  branch  to  them. 
The  stranger  carried  off  successively,  daughter,  son,  and  wife, 
and  all  Ireland  grieved,  for  they  were  much  loved;  but  Cormac 


Ii8  CELTIC  MYTHOLOGY 

shook  the  branch,  and  the  mourning  ceased.  In  a  year  desire 
to  see  his  wife  and  children  came  to  the  King.  He  set  off,  and 
as  he  went,  a  magic  mist  surrounded  him,  and  he  saw  a  house 
in  the  midst  of  a  wonderful  plain.  After  witnessing  many 
marvels,  he  reached  another  house  where  a  huge  and  beauti- 
ful man  and  woman  offered  him  hospitality.  Cormac  bathed, 
the  hot  stones  going  into  the  bath-water  of  themselves,  and 
the  man  brought  in  a  boar,  while  Cormac  prepared  the  fire 
and  set  on  a  quarter  of  the  beast.  His  host  proposed  that  he 
should  tell  a  tale,  at  the  end  of  which,  if  it  were  true,  the  meat 
would  be  cooked,  but  Cormac  asked  him  to  begin  first.  "Well, 
then,"  said  the  host,  "the  pig  is  one  of  seven,  and  with  them 
I  could  feed  the  whole  world.  When  one  is  eaten,  I  place  its 
bones  in  the  sty,  and  next  day  it  is  alive  again."  This  tale 
proved  true,  because  the  meat  was  already  cooked.  When  a 
second  quarter  was  placed  on  the  fire,  the  host  told  of  his 
corn  which  grew  and  gathered  itself,  and  never  grew  less;  and 
thus  a  second  quarter  was  cooked.  A  third  quarter  was  set 
on,  and  now  the  woman  described  the  milk  of  her  seven  cows 
which  filled  seven  tubs  and  would  satisfy  the  whole  world. 
Her  tale  also  proved  true,  and  now  Cormac  realized  that  he 
was  in  presence  of  Manannan  and  his  wife,  because  none 
possessed  such  pigs  as  he,  and  he  had  brought  his  wife  and  her 
cows  from  the  Land  of  Promise.  Cormac  then  told  how  he 
had  lost  his  wife  and  children  —  a  true  story,  for  the  fourth 
quarter  was  found  cooked.  Manannan  bade  him  eat,  but 
when  he  refused,  for  he  would  never  dine  with  two  persons 
only,  the  god  opened  a  door  and  brought  in  his  wife  and  chil- 
dren, and  great  was  their  mutual  joy.  Manannan  now  as- 
sumed his  divine  form  and  related  how  he  had  brought  the 
branch  because  he  desired  Cormac  to  come  hither,  and  he 
also  explained  the  mystery  of  the  wonders  seen  by  him.  When 
they  sat  down  to  eat,  Manannan  produced  a  table-cloth  on 
which  appeared  whatever  food  was  demanded,  and  a  cup.  If 
one  told  a  lie,  it  would  break,  but  if  truth  was  then  spoken, 


THE   DIVINE   LAND  119 

it  would  be  restored;  and  to  prove  this,  he  informed  Cormac 
that  his  lost  wife  had  had  a  new  husband,  whereupon  the  cup 
broke. '  "My  husband  has  lied,"  cried  the  goddess,  and  at  her 
words  the  cup  was  repaired.  Manannan  then  said  that  table- 
cloth, cup,  and  branch  would  be  Cormac's  and  that  he  had 
wrought  magic  upon  him  in  order  that  he  might  be  with  him 
that  night  in  friendship.  In  the  morning,  after  a  night's  sleep, 
Cormac  and  his  family  found  themselves  no  longer  in  the 
divine  land,  but  in  their  own  palace  of  Tara,  and  beside  him 
were  the  cup,  branch,  and  table-cloth  which  had  covered  the 
board  of  the  god.^  Cormac's  recognition  of  the  god  through 
his  swine  shows  knowledge  of  the  myth  of  the  gods'  food  — 
the  Mucca  Mhanannain,  "to  be  killed  and  yet  to  be  alive  for 
evermore."  ® 

A  story  told  of  Mongan  has  some  resemblance  to  that  of 
Cormac.  He  commiserated  a  poor  bardic  scholar,  bidding 
him  go  to  the  sid  of  Lethet  Oidni  and  bring  thence  a  precious 
stone  of  his,  as  well  as  a  pound  of  silver  for  himself  and  a 
pound  of  gold  from  the  stream  beside  the  sid.  At  two  sid  on 
his  way  a  noble-looking  couple  welcomed  him  as  Mongan's 
messenger,  and  a  similar  pair  received  him  at  the  sid  of  Lethet 
Oidni,  where  was  a  marvellous  chamber.  Asking  for  its  key, 
he  took  thence  the  stone  and  silver,  and  from  the  river  he 
took  the  gold,  returning  to  Mongan,  who  bestowed  the  silver 
upon  him.^  Another  story  of  Mongan  relates  how  he,  his  wife, 
and  some  others,  entering  a  mysterious  house  during  a  storm, 
found  in  it  seven  "conspicuous  men,"  many  marvellous 
quilts,  wonderful  jewels,  and  seven  vats  of  wine.  Welcome 
was  given  to  them,  and  Mongan  became  intoxicated  and  told 
his  wife  his  adventures,  or  "frenzy,"  from  the  telling  of  which 
he  had  formerly  asked  a  respite  of  seven  years.  When  they 
woke  next  morning,  they  found  that  they  had  been  in  the 
house  a  full  year,  though  it  seemed  but  a  night. ^  In  this  in- 
stance, however,  the  house  had  not  disappeared.     Examples 

of  beautiful  places  vanishing  at  daybreak  are  found  in  Fionn 
III — 9 


120  CELTIC  MYTHOLOGY 

talcs  and  also  in  the  Grail  romances.  The  seeker  of  the  Grail 
finds  himself  no  longer  in  the  Grail  castle  in  the  morning,  and 
the  castle  itself  has  become  invisible.  Such  creations  of  glamour 
were  probably  suggested  by  dreams,  whose  beauty  and  terror 
alike  vanish  "when  one  awaketh." 

Fruit-bearing,  musical  trees,  in  whose  branches  birds  are 
constantly  singing,  grow  in  the  gods'  land.  In  the  sid  of 
Oengus  were  three  trees  always  in  fruit;  and  there  were  also 
two  pigs,  one  always  living,  and  the  other  always  cooked  and 
ready  for  eating  —  the  equivalent  of  the  Mucca  Mhanatinain, 
or  "Pigs  of  Manannan"  — and  a  jar  of  excellent  beer,  Goib- 
niu's  ale.  None  ever  died  there. ^  The  Elysian  ale  is  doubtless 
a  superlative  form  of  the  Irish  cuirm  or  braccai,  made  from 
malt,  of  which  the  Gauls  had  a  divinity,  Braciaca;  ^°  and  it  is 
analogous  to  the  Vedic  soma  and  the  wine  of  Dionysos.^^ 
Within  the  sid,  or  the  gods'  land,  were  other  domestic  animals, 
especially  cows,  which  were  sometimes  brought  thence  by 
those  who  left  it  or  were  stolen  by  heroes  or  by  dwellers  in 
one  sid  from  those  of  another.  Where  mortals  steal  them, 
there  is  a  reminiscence  of  the  mythical  idea  that  the  elements 
of  civilization  were  wrested  from  the  gods  by  man.  Cauldrons 
were  used  by  the  Celts  for  domestic  and  sacrificial  as  well  as 
other  ritual  purposes,  and  these  also  gave  rise  to  myths  of 
wonderful  divine  cauldrons  like  Dagda's,  from  which  "no 
company  ever  went  unthankful."  Their  contents  restored  the 
dead  or  produced  inspiration,  and  they  were  stolen  from  the 
gods'  land,  e.  g.  by  Cuchulainn  and  by  Arthur.^-  The  caul- 
dron rimmed  with  pearls  which  Arthur  and  his  men  sought 
resembles  the  basin  with  rows  of  carbuncles  on  its  edge  in 
which,  according  to  another  story,  a  fairy  woman  washed.'^ 

The  inspiration  of  wisdom  was  obtained  in  the  gods'  land, 
either  by  drinking  from  a  well  or  by  eating  the  salmon  in  it; 
but  this  knowledge  was  tabu  even  to  some  members  of  the 
divine  land.  Such  a  well,  called  Connla's  Well,  was  in  the 
Land   under   Waves,  and  thither  Sincnd,  grand-daughter   of 


PLATE  XIV 

DiSPATER    AND    AeRACURA    (?) 

Dispater  was  the  great  Celtic  god  of  the  under- 
world (see  p.  9)  and  is  here  represented  holding  a 
hammer  and  a  cup  (for  the  hammer  cf.  the  deity 
Sucellos,  Plates  XIII,  XXVI,  and  see  Plate  IX,  B; 
the  cup  suggests  the  magic  cauldron  of  the  Celtic 
Elysium;  cf.  pp.  41,  95-96,  100,  109-12,  120,  151, 
192,  203-04  and  see  Plates  IX,  B,  XXV).  If  the 
goddess  beside  him  holding  a  cornucopia  (cf.  Plate 
IX,  A)  is  really  Aeracura,  she  probably  represents 
an  old  earth  goddess,  later  displaced  by  Dispater. 
From  an  altar  found  at  Oberseebach,  Switzerland. 


THE   DIVINE   LAND  121 

Ler,  went  from  the  Land  of  Promise  to  behold  It.  Above  It 
grew  hazels  of  wisdom,  bearing  leaves,  blossoms,  and  nuts 
together;  and  these  fell  into  the  water,  where  they  were  eaten 
by  salmon  —  the  salmon  of  knowledge  of  other  tales.  From 
the  well  sprang  seven  streams  of  wisdom,  and  SInend,  seek- 
ing understanding,  followed  one  of  these,  only  to  be  pursued 
and  overwhelmed  by  the  fount  itself.  Sometimes  these  hazels 
were  thought  to  grow  at  the  heads  of  the  chief  rivers  of  Erin.^* 
Such  a  fountain  with  five  streams,  their  waters  more  melo- 
dious than  mortal  music,  was  seen  by  Cormac  beside  Manan- 
nan's  house;  above  It  were  hazels,  and  In  It  five  salmon.  Nuts 
also  formed  part  of  the  food  of  the  gods  In  the  story  of  Diar- 
maid  and  Grainne,  and  in  a  tale  from  the  Dindsenchas  they 
are  said  to  be  eaten  by  the  "bright  folk  and  fairy  hosts  of 
Erin."  ^^  Another  secret  well  stood  In  the  green  of  Sid  Nech- 
taln,  and  none  could  approach  It  without  his  eyes  bursting 
save  Nechtan  and  his  cup-bearers.  Boann,  his  wife,  resolved 
to  test  its  power  or,  in  another  version,  to  prove  her  chastity 
after  adultery  with  Dagda,  and  walked  round  It  thrice  wither- 
shins;  but  three  waves  from  it  mutilated  her,  she  fled,  and 
was  drowned  in  the  pursuing  waters. ^^ 

Goddesses  sometimes  took  the  form  of  birds,  like  the  swan- 
maidens  of  universal  myth  and  folk-tale;  and  they  sang 
exquisite,  sleep-compelling  melodies.  Sweet,  unending  bird- 
music,  however,  was  a  constant  note  of  Elysium,  just  as  the 
song  of  Rhiannon's  birds  caused  oblivion  and  loss  of  all 
sense  of  time  for  eighty  years.  In  the  late  story  of  Telgue's 
voyage  to  Elysium  the  birds  which  feasted  on  the  delicious 
berries  of  Its  trees  are  said  to  warble  "music  and  minstrelsy 
melodious  and  superlative,"  causing  healthful  slumber;  ^^ 
while  In  another  story  the  minstrel  goddess  of  the  sid  of  Doon 
Buldhe  visited  other  side  with  the  birds  of  the  Land  of  Promise 
which  sang  unequalled  music. ^^ 

The  lords  of  the  sid  Elysium  were  many,  but  the  chief  were 
Dagda,  Oengus,  and  MIdIr,  as  Arawn  In  Brythonic  story  was 


122  CELTIC  MYTHOLOGY 

king  of  Annwfn.  In  general,  however,  every  sid  had  Its  own 
ruler,  and  if  this  is  an  early  tradition,  it  suggests  a  cult  of  a 
local  god  on  a  hill  within  which  his  abode  was  supposed  to  be. 
Manannan  Is  chief,  par  excellence,  of  the  island  Elysium,  and 
it  was  appropriate  that  a  marine  deity  should  rule  a  divine 
region  including  "thrice  fifty  isliands."  In  that  land  he  had  a 
stone  fort  with  a  banquetlng-hall.  Lug,  who  may  be  a  sun- 
god,  was  sometimes  associated  with  the  divine  land,  as  the 
solar  divinity  was  in  Greek  myth,  and  also  with  Manannan; 
and  he  with  his  foster-brothers,  Manannan's  sons,  came  to 
assist  the  Tuatha  De  Danann,  riding  Manannan's  steed  before 
"the  fairy  cavalcade  from  the  Land  of  Promise."  ^^  He  a4so 
appeared  as  owner  of  an  Elysium  created  by  glamour  on 
earth's  surface,  where  Conn  the  Hundred-Fighter  heard  a 
prophecy  of  his  future  career,^°  this  prophetic,  didactic  tale 
doubtless  having  an  earlier  mythic  prototype. 

The  Brythonic  Elysium  differed  little  from  the  Irish.  One 
of  its  names,  Annwfn,  or  "the  not-world,"  which  was  is  elfydd 
("beneath  the  world"),  was  later  equated  with  Hades  or  Hell, 
as  already  in  the  story  of  Gwyn.  In  the  Mabinogi  of  Pwyll  it 
Is  a  region  of  this  world,  though  with  greater  glories,  and  has 
districts  whose  people  fight,  as  In  Irish  tales.  In  other  Mahino- 
gion,  however,  as  in  the  Tallesin  poems  and  later  folk-belief, 
there  Is  an  over-sea  Elysium  called  Annwfn  or  Caer  SIdl  — 
"its  points  are  ocean's  streams"  —  and  a  world  beneath  the 
water  —  "a  caer  [castle]  of  defence  under  ocean's  waves."  ^^ 
Its  people  are  skilled  in  magic  and  shape-shifting;  mortals 
desire  Its  "spoils"  —  domestic  animals  and  a  marv^ellous 
cauldron;  It  Is  a  deathless  land,  without  sickness;  Its  waters 
arc  like  wine;  and  with  It  are  associated  the  gods.  The  Isle 
of  Avalon  in  Arthurian  tradition  shows  an  even  closer  like- 
ness to  the  Irish  Elysium. ^^ 

Thus  the  Irish  and  Welsh  placed  Elysium  In  various  regions 
—  local  other-worlds  —  In  hills,  on  earth's  surface,  under  or 
oversea;  and  this  doubtless  reflects  the  different  environments 


THE   DIVINE   LAND  123 

of  the  Celtic  folk.  With  neither  is  it  a  region  of  the  dead,  nor 
in  any  sense  associated  with  torment  or  penance.  This  is  true 
also  of  later  folk-stories  of  the  Green  Isle,  now  seen  beneath, 
now  above,  the  waters.  Its  people  are  deathless,  skilled  in 
magic;  its  waters  restore  life  and  health  to  mortals;  there 
magic  apples  grow;  and  thither  mortals  are  lured  or  wander 
hy  chance. ^^  The  same  conception  is  still  found  in  a  late  story 
told  of  Dunlang  O'Hartigan,  who  fought  at  Clontarf  in  1014. 
A  fairy  woman  offered  him  two  hundred  years  of  life  and 
joy —  "life  without  death,  without  cold,  without  thirst,  with- 
out hunger,  without  decay"  —  if  he  would  put  off  combat  for 
a  day;  but  he  preferred  death  in  battle  to  dishonour,  and 
"foremost  fighting,  fell."24 

The  parallel  between  Celtic  and  early  Greek  conceptions  of 
Elysium  -^  is  wonderfully  close.  Both  are  open  to  favoured 
human  beings,  who  are  thus  made  immortal  without  death; 
both  are  exquisitely  beautiful,  but  sensuous  and  unmoral. 
In  both  are  found  islands  ruled  by  goddesses  who  sometimes 
love  mortals;  both  are  oversea,  while  a  parallel  to  the  sid 
Elysium  underground  may  be  found  in  the  later  Greek  tradi- 
tion of  Elysium  as  a  region  of  Hades,  which  may  have  had 
roots  in  an  earlier  period. ^^  The  main  difference  is  the  occa- 
sional Celtic  view  of  Elysium  as  a  place  where  gods  are  at 
war.  This  may  be  due  to  warrior  aspects  of  Celtic  life,  while 
the  more  peaceful  conception  reflects  settled,  agricultural  life; 
although  Norse  influences  have  sometimes  been  suggested  as 
originating  the  former.^' 


CHAPTER   X 
MYTHICAL  ANIMALS  AND  OTHER  BEINGS 

THE  Celts  worshipped  animals  or  their  anthropomorphic 
representations — the  horse,  swine,  stag,  bull,  serpent, 
bear,  and  various  birds.  There  was  a  horse-goddess  Epona,  a 
horse-god  Rudiobus,  a  mule-god  Mullo,  a  swine-god  Moccus, 
and  bear-goddesses  called  Artio  and  Andarta,  dedications  to  or 
images  of  these  occurring  in  France  and  Britain.^  Personal 
names  meaning  "son  of  the  bear"  or  "of  the  dog,"  etc.,  sug- 
gest myths  of  animal  descent  lost  to  us,  though  they  find  a 
partial  illustration  in  stories  like  that  of  Oisin,  son  of  a  woman 
transformed  to  a  fawn.  We  have  seen  that  gods  and  magi- 
cians assume  animal  forms  or  force  these  upon  others;  and 
other  stories  point  to  the  belief  that  domesticated  animals  came 
from  the  gods'  land. 

From  these  we  turn  to  tales  in  which  certain  animals  have  a 
mythic  aspect,  perhaps  connected  with  a  cult  of  them.  A 
divine  bull  or  swine  might  readily  be  regarded  as  enormously 
large  or  strong,  or  possessed  of  magic  power,  or  otherwise  dis- 
tinguished; and  these  are  the  aspects  under  which  such  animals 
appear  in  the. stories  now  to  be  considered. 

In  the  Irish  tale  of  Mac  Ddtho's  Boar  {Seel  Mucei  Male 
Ddtho)  Mac  Datho,  King  of  Leinster,  had  a  dog  famed  through- 
out the  land.  It  could  run  round  Leinster  in  a  day  and  was 
coveted  both  by  Ailill  and  Medb  of  Connaught  and  by 
Conchobar  of  Ulster;  but  Mac  Datho  promised  it  to  both  and 
invited  the  monarchs  and  their  retinues  to  a  feast,  hoping  that 
he  would  escape  in  the  quarrel  which  would  certainly  arise 
between  them.     The  chief  dish  was  a  boar  reared  by  Mac 


PLATE   XV 

Epona 

1.  The  horse-goddess  Epona  may  have  been 
originally  a  deity  of  a  spring  or  river,  conceived  as  a 
spirited  steed.  She  is  here  represented  as  feeding 
horses  (for  the  horse  see  Plates  II,  1-3,  III,  2,  4). 
From  a  bas-relief  found  at  Bregenz,  Tyrol. 

2.  The  goddess  is  shown  seated  between  two 
foals,  and  the  cornucopia  which  she  holds  would 
characterize  her  as  a  divinity  of  plenty  (cf.  Plates 
IX,  A,  XIV,  and  p.  9).  From  a  bronze  statuette 
found  in  Wiltshire. 


MYTHICAL  ANIMALS  AND  OTHER   BEINGS      125 

Datho's  grandson,  Lena,  who,  though  buried  in  a  trench  which 
the  boar  rooted  up  over  him,  succeeded  in  killing  the  animal 
with  his  sword.  For  seven  years  the  boar  had  been  nurtured 
on  the  flesh  of  fifty  cows;  sixty  oxen  were  required  to  drag  its 
carcass;  and  its  tail  was  a  load  for  sixty  men;  yet  Conall 
Cernach  sucked  it  entire  into  his  mouth!  ^  The  story  tells 
nothing  more  of  this  remarkable  animal,  but  it  may  commem- 
orate an  old  ritual  feast  upon  an  animal  regarded  as  divine  and 
endowed  with  mythic  qualities. 

The  Mirabilia  added  to  Nennius's  History  speak  of  the 
Porcus  Troit  or  Twrch  Trwyth,  hunted  by  Arthur,  an  episode 
related  in  the  tale  of  Kulhzuch  and  Olwen.  This  creature,  which 
was  a  transformed  knight,  slaughtered  many  of  the  hunters 
before  it  was  overcome  and  three  desirable  possessions  taken 
from  between  its  ears.^  The  Porcus  Troit  resembles  the  Wild 
Boar  of  Gulban,  a  transformed  child,  hunted  by  Diarmaid 
when  the  Feinn  had  fled  before  it;  and  tradition  tells  of  its 
great  size  —  sixteen  feet  long.'*  Fionn  himself  chased  a  huge 
boar  which  terrified  every  one  until  it  was  slain  by  his  grand- 
son, Oscar.  It  was  blue-black,  with  rough  bristles,  and  no 
ears  or  tail;  its  teeth  protruded  horribly;  and  each  flake  of 
foam  from  its  mouth  resembled  the  foam  of  a  mighty  water- 
fall.^ A  closer  analogy  to  Arthur's  hunt  occurs  in  a  story  of  the 
Dindsenchas  concerning  a  pig  which  wasted  the  land.  Manan- 
nan  and  Mod's  hounds  pursued  it,  when  it  sprang  into  a  lake 
where  it  maimed  or  drowned  the  following  hounds;  and  then 
it  crossed  to  Muic-Inis,  or  Pig  Island,  where  it  slew  Mod  with 
its  tusk.^  Another  hunting  of  magic  swine  concerns  animals 
from  the  cave  of  Cruachan,  which  is  elsewhere  associated  with 
divinities.  Nothing  grew  where  they  went,  and  they  destroyed 
corn  and  milk;  no  one  could  count  them  accurately,  and  when 
shot  at  they  disappeared.  Medb  and  Ailill  hunted  them,  and 
when  one  of  them  leaped  into  Medb's  chariot,  she  seized  its 
leg,  but  the  skin  broke,  and  the  pig  left  it  in  her  hand. 
After  that  no  one  knew  whither  they  went,  although  a  variant 


126  CELTIC  IVHTHOLOGY 

version  says  that  now  they  were  counted.  From  this  cave 
came  other  destructive  creatures  —  a  great  three-headed  bird 
which  wasted  Erin  till  Amairgen  killed  it,  and  red  birds  which 
withered  everything  with  their  breath  until  the  Ulstermen  slew 
them.^  It  is  strange  why  such  animals  should  be  associated 
with  this  divine  cave,  but  probably  the  tradition  dates  from 
the  time  when  it  was  regarded  as  "Ireland's  gate  of  hell,"  so 
that  any  evil  spirit  might  inhabit  it. 

In  these  stories  of  divinities  or  heroes  hunting  fabulous  swine 
it  is  possible  that  the  animals  represent  some  hurtful  power, 
dangerous  to  vegetation;  for  the  swine  is  apt  to  be  regarded 
in  a  sinister  light  and  might  well  be  the  embodiment  of 
demoniac  beings.  On  the  other  hand,  the  animal  sacrificed 
to  a  god,  or  of  which  the  god  is  an  anthropomorphic  aspect, 
is  sometimes  regarded  as  his  enemy,  slain  by  him.  Whether 
this  conception  lurks  behind  these  tales  is  uncertain,  as  also 
is  the  question  whether  the  magic  immortal  swine  —  the  food 
of  the  gods  —  were  originally  animals  sacrificed  to  them. 
Divine  swine  appear  in  a  Fionn  tale.  The  Feinn  were  at  a 
banquet  given  by  Oengus,  when  the  deity  said  that  the  best 
of  Fionn's  hounds  could  not  kill  one  of  his  pigs,  but  rather 
his  great  pig  would  kill  them.  Fionn,  on  the  contrary,  main- 
tained that  his  hounds.  Bran  and  Sgeolan,  could  do  so.  A  year 
after,  a  hundred  and  one  pigs  appeared,  one  of  them  coal- 
black,  and  each  tall  as  a  deer;  but  the  Feinn  and  their  dogs 
killed  them  all,  Bran  slaying  the  black  one,  whereupon  Oengus 
complained  that  they  had  caused  the  death  of  his  sons  and 
many  of  the  Tuatha  De  Danann,  for  they  were  in  the  form  of 
the  swine.  A  quarrel  ensued,  and  Fionn  prepared  to  attack 
Oengus's  brug,  when  the  god  made  peace. ^  In  another  instance 
a  fairy  as  a  wild  boar  eluded  the  Feinn,  but  Fionn  ofi"ered  the 
choice  of  the  women  to  its  slayer,  and  by  the  help  of  a  "  familiar 
spirit"  in  love  with  him  Caoilte  "got  the  diabolical  beast 
killed."  Fionn  covered  the  women's  heads  lest  Caoilte  should 
take  his  wife,  but  his  ruse  was  unsuccessful.^ 


MYTHICAL  ANIMALS  AND   OTHER   BEINGS       127 

In  still  another  Instance  Derbrenn,  Oengus's  first  love,  had 
six  foster-children;  but  their  mother  changed  them  into  swine, 
and  Oengus  gave  charge  of  them  to  Buichet,  whose  wife  de- 
sired the  flesh  of  one  of  them.  A  hundred  heroes  and  as  many- 
hounds  prepared  to  hunt  them,  when  they  fled  to  Oengus  for 
help,  only  to  find  that  he  could  not  give  it  until  they  shook 
the  tree  of  Tarbga  and  ate  the  salmon  of  Inver  Umaill.  Not 
for  a  year  were  they  able  to  do  this,  but  now  Medb  hunted 
them,  and  all  were  slain  save  one.  Other  huntings  of  these 
swine,  less  fortunate  for  the  hunters,  are  also  mentioned,  and 
in  one  passage  Derbrenn's  swine  are  said  to  have  been  fash- 
ioned by  magic.-^°  Both  in  Irish  and  in  Welsh  story  pigs  are 
associated  with  the  gods'  land  and  are  brought  thence  by 
heroes  or  by  the  gods.  The  Tuatha  De  Danann  are  said  to 
have  first  introduced  swine  into  Ireland  or  Munster." 

The  mythic  bulls  of  the  Tain  Bo  Cualgne  were  reincarna- 
tions of  divinities,  whence  enormous  strength  was  theirs,  and 
the  Brown  Bull  was  of  vast  size.  He  carried  a  hundred  and 
fifty  children,  until  one  day  he  threw  them  oflF  and  killed  all 
but  fifty;  a  hundred  warriors  were  protected  by  his  shadow 
from  the  heat,  or  by  his  shelter  from  the  cold.  His  melodious 
evening  lowing  was  such  as  any  one  would  desire  to  hear,  and 
no  eldritch  thing  dared  approach  him;  he  covered  fifty  heifers 
daily,  and  each  next  morning  had  a  calf.^-  Two  gifts  given  to 
Conn  by  a  princess  who  was  with  the  god  Lug  were  a  boar's 
rib  and  that  of  an  ox,  twenty-four  feet  long,  forming  an  arch 
eight  feet  high;  but  nothing  further  is  told  of  the  animals  which 
owned  these  huge  bones. ^^ 

Cattle  were  a  valued  possession  of  the  gods'  land  and,  like 
swine,  were  brought  thence  by  heroes.  Man  easily  concluded 
that  animals  useful  to  him  were  also  useful  to  the  gods,  but 
he  regarded  these  as  magical.  The  divine  mother  of  Fraoch 
gave  him  cows  from  the  sid.  ^Flidais,  "one  of  the  tribe  of  the 
god  folk,"  was  wife  of  Ailill  the  Fair  and  had  a  cow  which 
supplied  milk  to  three  hundred  men  at  one  night's  milking; 


128  CELTIC  MYTHOLOGY 

while  during  the  Tain  another  account  speaks  of  FHdais 
having  several  cows  which  fed  Ailill's  army  every  seventh  day. 
FHdais  loved  Fergus  and  urged  him  to  carry  her  off  with  her 
cow  ^^  —  a  proof  of  its  value,  which  is  seen  also  in  tales  of  the 
capture  of  cows  along  with  some  desirable  woman,  divine  or 
human.  In  many  Welsh  instances  cattle  are  a  possession  of  the 
fairy-folk  dwelling  under  a  lake  and  often  come  to  land 
to  feed.^^  The  cow  of  FHdais  resembles  the  seven  kine  of 
Manannan's  wife;  their  milk  suffices  the  people  of  the  entire 
Land  of  Promise  or  the  men  of  the  whole  world,  while  from  the 
wool  of  her  seven  sheep  came  all  their  clothing.^® 

Though  the  waves  were  "the  Son  of  Ler's  horses  in  a  sea- 
storm,"  Manannan  rode  them  on  his  steed  Enbarr,  which  he 
gave  to  Lug;  and  this  horse  was  "fleet  as  the  naked  cold  wind 
of  spring,"  while  its  rider  was  never  killed  off  its  back.^^ 
In  Elysium  "a  stud  of  steeds  with  grey-speckled  manes  and 
another  crimson-brown"  were  seen  by  Laeg,  and  similar  horses 
were  given  to  carry  mortals  back  to  earth,  whence,  if  they  did 
not  dismount,  they  could  return  safely  to  Elysium.  Such  a 
steed  was  brought  by  Gilla  Decair  to  Fionn  and  his  men,  and 
miserable-looking  though  it  was,  when  placed  among  the 
Feinn's  horses,  it  bit  and  tore  them.  Conan  mounted  it  in 
order  to  ride  it  to  death,  but  it  would  not  move;  and  when 
thirteen  others  vaulted  on  it,  the  Gilla  fled,  followed  swiftly  by 
the  horse  with  its  riders.  Carrying  them  over  land  and  sea, 
with  another  hero  holding  its  tail,  it  brought  them  to  the  Land 
of  Promise,  whence  Fionn  ultimately  rescued  them.  This  forms 
the  first  part  of  a  late  artificial  tale,  based  upon  a  mythic 
foundation. ^^  Other  mythical  horses  came  from  a  water-world, 
e.  g.  the  steeds  which  |Cuchulainn  captured,  one  of  these  being 
the  Grey  of  Macha,  out  of  the  Grey  Lake.  Cuchulainn  slipped 
behind  it  and  wrestled  with  it  all  round  Erin  until  it  was 
mastered;  and  when  it  was  wounded  at  his  death,  it  went  into 
the  lake  to  be  healed.  The  other  was  Dubsainglend  of  the 
Alarvellous  Valley,  which  was  captured  in  similar  fashion.^® 


PLATE  XVI 

Cernunnos 

This  homed  deity  with  torques  on  his  horns  is 
perhaps  identical  with  the  homed  god  shown  in 
Plate  XXV.  He  was  doubtless  a  divinity  of  the 
underworld  (see  pp.  9,  104-05,  158,  and  for  other 
deities  of  Elysium  of.  Smertullos,  Plate  V;  the  three- 
headed  god,  Plates  VII,  XII,  the  squatting  god, 
Plates  VIII-IX;  Sucellos,  Plates  XIII,  XXVI;  and 
Dispater,  Plate  XIV).  From  an  altar  found  at 
Notre  Dame,  Paris. 


MYTHICAL  ANIMALS   AND   OTHER   BEINGS      129 

Possibly  the  rushing  stream  was  personified  as  a  steed,  and 
the  horse-goddess  Epona  is  occasionally  connected  with  streams, 
while  horses  which  emerge  from  lakes  or  rivers  may  be  mythic 
forms  of  water-dlvlnltles.  In  more  recent  folk-belief  the  mon- 
strous water-horse  of  France  and  Scotland  was  capable  of  self- 
transformation  and  waylaid  travellers,  or,  assuming  human 
form,  he  made  love  to  women,  luring  them  to  destruction. 
Did  such  demoniac  horses  already  exist  In  the  pagan  period, 
or  are  they  a  legacy  from  Scandinavian  belief,  or  are  they 
earlier  equine  water-dlvlnltles  thus  distorted  In  Christian 
times?  This  must  remain  uncertain,  but  at  all  events  they 
were  amenable  to  the  power  of  Christian  saints,  since  St. 
Fechin  of  Fore,  when  one  of  his  chariot-horses  died  on  a 
journey,  compelled  a  water-horse  to  take  Its  place,  afterward 
allowing  It  to  return  to  the  water.^o  Akin  to  these  Is  the  Welsh 
afanc,  one  of  which  was  drawn  by  the  oxen  of  Hu  Gadarn 
from  a  pond,  while  another  was  slain  by  Peredur  (Percival) 
after  he  had  obtained  a  jewel  of  invisibility  which  hid  him 
from  the  monster  with  Its  poisoned  spear.^^ 

Mortals  as  well  as  side  were  transformed  into  deer,  and 
fairies  possessed  herds  of  those  animals,  while  Caoilte  slew 
a  wild  three-antlered  stag  —  "the  grey  one  of  three  antlers" 

—  which  had  long  eluded  the  hunters. ^^  Three-horned  animals 

—  bull  or  boar  —  are  depicted  on  Gaulish  monuments,  and 
the  third  horn  symbolizes  divinity  or  divine  strength,  the 
word  "horn"  being  often  used  as  a  synonym  of  might,  es- 
pecially divine  power.  On  an  altar  discovered  at  Notre 
Dame  In  Paris,  the  god  Cernunnos  ("the  Horned,"  from  cernu-, 
"horn".^)  has  stag's  horns;  and  other  unnamed  divinities 
also  show  traces  of  antlers.  Possibly  these  gods  were  anthro- 
pomorphic forms  of  stag-divinities,  like  other  Gaulish  deities 
with  bull's  horns.^^ 

Serpents  or  dragons  Infesting  lochs,  sometimes  generically 
called  peist  or  heist  (Latin  bestia,  "beast"),  occur  in  Celtic 
and  other  mythologies  and  are  reminiscent  of  earlier  reptile 


I30  CELTIC  MYTHOLOGY 

forms,  dwelling  in  watery  places  and  regarded  as  embodiments 
of  water-spirits  or  guardians  of  the  waters.  In  later  tradition 
such  monsters  were  said  to  have  been  imprisoned  in  lochs  or 
destroyed  by  Celtic  saints.  As  has  been  seen,  a  dragon's 
shriek  on  May-Eve  made  the  land  barren  till  Lludd  buried 
it  and  its  opponent  alive  after  stupifying  them  with  mead. 
They  were  placed  in  a  cistvaen  at  Dinas  Emreis  in  Snowdon, 
and  long  afterward  Merlin  got  rid  of  them  when  they  hin- 
dered Vortigern's  building  operations.  Here  the  dragons  are 
embodiments  of  powers  hostile  to  man  and  to  fertility,  but  are 
conquered  by  gods,  Lludd  and  Merlin.^'* 

Another  story  of  a  peist  occurs  in  the  Tain  Bo  Frdich. 
Fraoch  was  the  most  beautiful  of  Erin's  heroes,  and  his  mother 
was  the  divine  Behind,  her  sister  the  goddess  Boann.  Finda- 
bair,  daughter  of  Ailill  and  Medb,  loved  him,  but  before  going 
to  claim  her  he  was  advised  to  seek  from  Boann  treasure  of  the 
sid,  which  she  gave  him  in  abundance,  while  he  was  made  wel- 
come at  Ailill's  dun.  After  staying  there  for  some  time,  he 
desired  Findabair  to  elope  with  him,  only  to  be  refused,  where- 
upon he  demanded  her  of  Ailill,  but  would  not  give  the  bride- 
price  asked.  Ailill  and  Medb  therefore  plotted  his  death, 
fearing  that  if  he  took  Findabair  by  force,  the  Kings  who 
sought  her  would  attack  them.  While  Fraoch  was  swimming 
in  the  river,  Ailill  bade  him  bring  a  branch  from  a  rowan- 
tree  growing  on  the  bank,  and  swimming  there,  he  returned 
with  it,  Findabair  meanwhile  admiring  the  beauty  of  his 
body.  Ailill  sent  him  for  more,  but  the  monster  guardian 
of  the  tree  attacked  him;  and  when  he  called  for  a  sword, 
Findabair  leaped  into  the  water  with  it,  Ailill  throwing  a  five- 
pronged  spear  at  her.  Fraoch  caught  it  and  hurled  it  back; 
and  though  the  monster  all  the  while  was  biting  his  side,  with 
the  sword  he  cut  off  its  head  and  brought  it  to  land.  A  bath 
of  broth  was  made  for  him,  and  afterward  he  was  laid  on  a  bed. 
Then  was  heard  lamentation,  and  a  hundred  and  fifty  women  of 
the  side,  clad  in  crimson  with  green  head-dresses,  appeared, 


MYTHICAL  ANIMALS  AND   OTHER   BEINGS       131 

all  of  one  age,  shape,  and  loveliness,  coming  for  Fraoch,  the 
darling  of  the  side.  They  bore  him  off,  bringing  him  back  on 
the  morrow  recovered  of  his  wound,  and  Findabair  was  now 
betrothed  to  Fraoch  on  his  promising  to  assist  in  the  raid  of 
Cualnge.  Thus  Fraoch,  a  demi-god,  overcame  the  peist.^^ 
In  the  ballad  version  from  the  Dean  of  Lismore's  Book,  Medb 
sent  him  for  the  berries  because  he  scorned  her  love.  The  tree 
grew  on  an  island  in  a  loch,  with  the  peist  coiled  round  its 
roots.  Every  month  it  bore  sweetest  fruit,  and  one  berry 
satisfied  hunger  for  a  long  time,  while  its  juice  prolonged  life 
for  a  year  and  healed  sickness.  Fraoch  killed  the  peist,  but 
died  of  his  wounds.^®  The  tree  was  the  tree  of  the  gods  and 
resembles  the  quicken-tree  of  Dubhros,  guarded  by  a  one-eyed 
giant  whom  Diarmaid  slew.^^  These  stories  recall  the  Greek 
myth  of  Herakles  slaying  the  dragon  guardian  of  the  apples 
of  the  Hesperides,^^  which  has  a  certain  parallel  in  Babylonia. 
A  marvellous  tree  with  jewelled  fruit  was  seen  by  Gilgamesh 
in  a  region  on  this  side  of  the  Waters  of  Death;  and  in  the  Fields 
of  the  Blessed  beyond  these  waters  he  found  a  magic  plant, 
the  twigs  of  which  renewed  man's  youth.  He  gathered  it, 
but  a  serpent  seized  it  and  carried  it  off.  The  stories  of  Fraoch 
and  Diarmaid  point  to  myths  showing  that  gods  were  jealous 
of  men  sharing  their  divine  food;  and  their  tree  of  life  was 
guarded  against  mortals,  though  perhaps  semi-divine  heroes 
might  gain  access  to  it  and  obtain  its  benefits  for  human  beings. 
The  guardian  peist  recalls  the  dragons  entwined  round  oaks 
in  the  grove  described  by  Lucan.^^ 

Such  Celtic  peists  were  slain  by  Fionn,  and  in  one  poem 
Fionn  or,  in  another,  his  son,  Daire,  was  swallowed  by  the 
monster,  but  hacked  his  way  out,  liberating  others  besides 
himself.^°  They  also  defended  duns  in  Celtic  story,  and  in  the 
sequel  to  the  tale  of  Fraoch  he  and  Conall  reached  a  dun 
where  his  stolen  cattle  were.  A  serpent  sprang  into  Conall's 
belt,  but  was  later  released  by  him,  and  "neither  did  harm  to 
the  other."    In  Cuchulainn's  account  of  his  journey  to  Scath, 


132  CELTIC  MYTHOLOGY 

the  dun  had  seven  walls,  each  with  an  iron  palisade;  and  hav- 
ing destroyed  these,  he  reached  a  pit  guarded  by  serpents 
which  he  slew  with  his  fists,  as  well  as  many  toads,  sharp  and 
beaked  beasts,  and  ugly,  dragon-like  monsters.  Then  he  took  a 
cauldron  and  cows  from  the  du?i,  which  must  have  been  in  the 
gods'  land  across  the  sea,  as  in  other  tales  where  such  thefts 
are  related. ^^ 

A  curious  story  from  the  Dindsenchas  tells  how  the  son  of 
the  Morrigan  had  three  hearts  with  "shapes  of  serpents  through 
them,"  or  "with  the  shape  of  serpents'  heads."  He  was  slain 
by  MacCecht,  and  if  death  had  not  befallen  him,  these  ser- 
pents would  have  grown  and  destroyed  all  other  animals. 
The  hearts  were  burned,  and  the  ashes  were  cast  into  a  stream, 
whereupon  its  rapids  stayed,  and  all  creatures  in  it  dled.^^ 
In  another  story  Cian  was  born  with  a  caul  which  increased 
with  his  growth,  but  Sgathan  ripped  it  open,  and  a  worm  sprang 
from  it,  which  was  thought  to  have  the  same  span  of  life  as 
Cian.  A  wood  was  put  round  it,  and  the  creature  was  fed,  but 
it  grew  to  a  vast  size  and  swallowed  men  whole.  Fire  was  set 
to  the  wood,  when  it  fled  to  a  cave  and  made  a  wilderness  all 
around;  but  at  last  Oisin  killed  it  with  Diarmaid's  magic 
spear.^^  Serpents  with  rams'  heads  are  a  frequent  motif  on 
Gaulish  monuments,  either  separately  or  as  the  adjuncts  of  a 
god;  but  their  meaning  is  unknown,  and  no  myth  regarding 
them  has  survived. 

Other  parts  of  nature  besides  animals  were  regarded  myth- 
ically. Mountains,  the  sea,  rivers,  wells,  lakes,  sun,  moon,  and 
earth  had  a  personality  of  their  own,  and  this  conception  sur- 
vived when  other  ideas  had  arisen.  Appeal  was  made  to  them, 
as  the  runes  sung  by  Morrigan  and  Amairgen  show,  and  they 
were  taken  as  sureties,  or  their  power  was  invoked  to  do  harm, 
as  when  Aed  Ruad's  champion  took  sureties  of  sea,  wind,  sun, 
and  firmament  against  him,  so  that  the  sun's  heat  caused  Aed 
to  bathe,  and  the  rising  sea  and  a  great  wind  drowned  hlm.^* 
In  another  Instance,  a  spell  chanted  over  the  sea  by  Dub, 


MYTHICAL  ANIMALS  AND   OTHER   BEINGS      133 

wife  of  Enna,  of  the  side,  caused  the  drowning  of  his  other  wife, 
Aide,  and  her  family. ^^  The  personality  of  the  sea  is  seen  also 
in  the  story  of  Lindgadan  and  the  echo  heard  at  a  cliff:  en- 
raged at  some  one  speaking  to  him  without  being  asked,  he 
turned  to  the  cliff  to  be  avenged  upon  the  speaker,  when  the 
crest  of  a  wave  dashed  him  against  a  rock.^^  So,  too,  the  sea 
was  obedient  to  man,  or  perhaps  to  a  god,  Tuirbe  Tragmar, 
father  of  the  Goban  Saer,  used  to  hurl  his  axe  from  the  Hill 
of  the  Axe  in  the  full  of  the  flood-tide,  forbidding  the  sea  to 
come  beyond  the  axe,^^  an  action  akin  to  the  Celtic  ritual  of 
"fighting  the  waves."  The  voices  of  the  waves  had  a  warn- 
ing, prophetic,  or  sympathetic  sound  to  those  who  could  hear 
them  aright,  as  many  instances  show. 

As  elsewhere,  personalized  parts  of  nature  came  to  be  re- 
garded as  animated  by  spirits,  like  man;  and  such  spirits  grad- 
ually became  more  or  less  detached  from  these  and  might  be 
seen  as  divine  beings  appearing  near  them.  Some  of  them 
became  the  greater  gods,  while  others  assumed  a  darker  char- 
acter, perhaps  because  they  were  associated  with  sinister  as- 
pects of  nature  or  with  the  dead.  The  Celts  knew  all  these,  and 
some  still  linger  on  In  folk-belief.  Fairy-like  or  semi-divine 
women  seen  by  streams  or  fountains,  or  in  forests,  or  living  in 
lakes  or  rivers,  are  survivals  of  spirits  and  goddesses  of  river, 
lake,  or  earth;  and  they  abound  in  Celtic  folk-story  as  bonnes 
dames,  dames  blanches,  fees,  or  the  Irish  Be  Find.  Beings  like 
mermaids  existed  in  early  Irish  belief.  When  Ruad's  ships  were 
stopped,  he  went  over  the  side  and  saw  "the  loveliest  of  the 
world's  women,"  three  of  them  detaining  each  boat.  They 
carried  him  off,  and  he  slept  with  each  in  turn,  one  becoming 
with  child  by  him.  They  set  out  in  a  bronze  boat  to  Intercept 
him  on  his  return  journey,  but  when  they  failed,  the  mother 
killed  his  child  and  hurled  the  head  after  him,  the  others  crying, 
"It  Is  an  awful  crime."  ^^  In  another  tale  Rath  heard  the  mer- 
maids' song  and  saw  them — "grown-up  girls,  the  fairest  of 
shape  and  make,  with  yellow  hair  and  white  skins  above  the 


134  CELTIC  MYTHOLOGY 

waters.  But  huger  than  one  of  the  hills  was  the  haiiy-clawed, 
bestial  lower  part  which  they  had  beneath."  Their  song  lulled 
him  to  sleep,  when  they  flocked  round  him  and  tore  him 
limb  from  limb.^^  Other  sea-dwellers  are  the  luchorpdin  — 
a  kind  of  dwarf,  three  of  whom  were  caught  by  Fergus  and 
forced  to  comply  with  his  wish  and  to  tell  him  how  to  pass 
under  lochs  and  seas.  They  put  herbs  in  his  ears,  or  one  of  them 
gave  him  a  cloak  to  cover  his  head,  and  thus  he  went  with  them 
under  the  water.^° 

A  curious  group  of  beings  answered  Cuchulainn's  cry,  caus- 
ing confusion  to  his  enemies,  or  screamed  around  him  when  he 
set  out  or  was  in  the  thick  of  the  fight.  While  he  fought  with 
Ferdia,  "around  him  shrieked  the  Bocdnachs  and  the  Bandn- 
achs  and  the  Geniti  Glinne,  and  the  demons  of  the  air;  for  it 
was  the  custom  of  the  Tuatha  De  Danann  to  raise  their  cries 
about  him  in  every  battle,"  and  thus  increase  men's  fear  of 
him.  Or  they  screamed  from  the  rims  of  shields  and  hilts  of 
swords  and  hafts  of  spears  of  the  hero  and  of  Ferdia. ^^  Here 
they  are  friendly  to  Cuchulainn,  but  in  the  Fled  Bricrend,  or 
feast  of  Bricriu,  one  of  the  tasks  imposed  on  him,  Conall,  and 
Loegaire  was  to  fight  the  Geniti  Glinne,  Cuchulainn  alone 
succeeding  and  slaughtering  many  of  them.^-  What  kind  of 
beings  they  were  is  uncertain,  but  if  Geniti  Glinne  means  "  Dam- 
sels of  the  Glen,"  perhaps  they  were  a  kind  of  nature-spirits, 
this  being  also  suggested  by  the  "  demons  of  the  air  "  which  were 
expelled  by  St.  Patrick.''^  As  nature-spirits  they  might  be 
classed  with  the  Tuatha  De  Danann,  as  indeed  they  seem  to 
be  in  the  passage  cited  above.^"*  Li  one  sentence  of  the  Tdin 
Bo  Cuabige,  they  are  associated  with  Nemain  or  Badb,  who 
brought  confusion  upon  Medb's  host;  yet  on  the  other  hand 
they  dared  not  appear  in  the  same  district  as  the  bull  of 
Cualnge.'*^ 


PLATE  XVII 
Incised  Stones  from  Scotland 

1.  Incised  stone  with  "elephant"  symbol  and 
crescent  symbol  with  V-rod  symbol.  From  Crichie, 
Aberdeenshire. 

2.  Incised  stone  with  "elephant"  and  double 
disc  (or  "spectacles")  with  Z-rod  symbol.  See  also 
Plate  X. 


CHAPTER  XI 
MYTHS  OF  ORIGINS 

SAVAGE  and  barbaric  peoples  possess  many  grotesque 
myths  of  the  origin  of  various  parts  of  nature.  In  recently 
existing  Celtic  folk-lore  and  in  stories  preserved  mainly  in  the 
Dindsenchas  conceptions  not  unlike  these  are  found  and  doubt- 
less were  handed  down  from  the  pre-Christian  period,  whether 
Celtic  or  pre-Celtic,  while  in  certain  instances  a  saint  takes 
the  place  of  an  older  pagan  personage.  In  Brittany  and  else- 
where in  France  natural  features  —  rivers,  lakes,  hills,  rocks  — 
are  associated  in  their  origin  with  giants,  fairies,  witches,  or 
the  devil,  just  as  in  other  Celtic  regions  and,  indeed,  in  all 
parts  of  the  world.  Many  traditions,  however,  connect  them 
with  the  giant  Gargantua,  who  was  not  a  creation  of  Rabe- 
lais' brain,  but  was  borrowed  from  popular  belief.  He  may 
have  been  an  old  Celtic  god  or  hero,  popular  and,  therefore, 
easily  surviving  in  folk-memory,  and  may  also  be  the  Gurgun- 
tius,  son  of  Belinus,  King  of  Britain,  mentioned  by  Giraldus 
Cambrensis.  Many  hills  or  isolated  rocks  or  erratic  boulders 
are  described  as  his  teeth,  or  as  stones  thrown,  or  vomited,  or 
ejected  by  him;  and  rivers  or  lakes  were  formed  from  his 
blood  or  urine,  numerous  traditions  regarding  these  being 
collected  by  Sebillot  in  his  book  on  Gargantua.^ 

In  Irish  story  similar  traditions  are  found  and  are  of  a  naive 
character.  Manannan  shed  "three  drops  of  grief"  for  his  dead 
son,  and  these  became  three  lochs,  as  in  the  Finnish  Kalevala 
a  mother's  tears  are  changed  into  rivers.  Again,  a  king's 
daughter  died  of  shame  when  her  lover  saw  her  bathing,  and 
her  foster-mother's  tears  made  Loch  Gile.     In  other  instances 

in — lO 


136  CELTIC  MYTHOLOGY 

lochs  are  formed  by  water  pouring  forth  at  the  digging  of  a 
grave,  e.g.  that  of  Manannan,  slain  in  battle,  or  that  of  Gar- 
man,  son  of  Glas.  Or  a  well  is  the  source  of  a  loch,  because 
some  one  was  drowned  in  it,  or  because  its  waters  poured  forth 
over  intruders,  or  because  of  the  breaking  of  a  tabu  connected 
with  it,  e.g.  leaving  its  cover  off.  In  two  instances  already- 
cited  the  urine  of  a  horse  belonging  to  a  god  produced  a  loch;  ^ 
and  more  curious  still  is  the  myth  of  the  woman  Odras  whom 
the  Morrigan  changed  into  a  pool  of  water. ^ 

An  interesting  story  tells  of  the  magic  creation  of  a  wood. 
Gaible,  son  of  Nuada,  stole  a  bundle  of  twigs  which  Ainge, 
daughter  of  Dagda,  had  gathered  to  make  a  tub,  for  Dagda 
had  made  one  which  dripped  during  flood-tide,  and  she  wished 
for  a  better  one.  Gaible  threw  away  the  bundle,  and  it  be- 
came a  wood  springing  up  in  every  direction."*  This  is  of  a 
very  primitive  character  and  resembles  the  folk-tale  incident 
of  the  Transformation  Flight,  in  which  a  twig,  comb,  or  reed 
thrown  down  by  fugitives  becomes  a  thick  forest  or  bush  im- 
peding the  pursuers.^  Curious,  too,  is  the  story  of  Codal,  who 
on  a  hillock  fed  his  fosterling  Eriu,  from  whom  is  named 
Eriu's  Island  (Ireland).  As  she  grew,  the  hillock  increased 
with  her,  and  had  she  not  complained  to  Codal  of  the  sun's 
heat  and  the  cold  wind,  it  would  have  grown  until  Ireland  was 
filled  with  the  mountain.  Another  story,  recalling  that  of  the 
Australian  Bunjel's  slicing  earth  with  a  knife  into  creeks  and 
valleys,  tells  how  Fergus,  with  Cuchulainn's  sword,  the  calad- 
holg  out  of  the  sid^  sheared  the  tops  of  three  mountains,  which 
are  now  "Meath's  three  bare  ones,"  while  as  a  counter  blow 
Cuchulainn  did  the  same  to  three  hills  in  Athlone.®  In  an- 
other tale  Fergus,  irritated  against  Conchobar,  struck  three 
blows  on  the  ground  and  thus  caused  three  hills  to  arise  which 
will  endure  for  ever.^ 

The  first  occurrence  of  other  things  is  often  the  subject  of 
a  tradition.  Alany  myths  exist  about  the  origin  of  fire,  and  in 
Irish  story  the  first  camp-fire  was  made  by  Aidne  for  the  Mile- 


MYTHS  OF  ORIGINS  137 

sians  by  wringing  his  hands  together,  when  flashes  as  large  as 
apples  came  from  his  knuckles,  this  resembling  the  legends  of 
light  or  fire  obtained  from  a  saint's  hand.  At  Nemnach,  near 
the  sid  of  Tara,  rose  a  stream  on  which  stood  the  first  mill 
built  in  Ireland,  but  no  myth  describes  its  origin.  On  the  other 
hand,  the  story  of  the  first  trap  resembles  that  told  of  the 
guillotine  and  its  inventor.  Coba  was  trapper  to  Erem,  son 
of  Mile,  and  was  the  first  to  prepare  a  trap  and  pitfall  in  Erin, 
but  having  put  his  leg  into  it  to  test  it,  his  shin-bone  and  arms 
were  fractured,  and  he  died.  Brea,  in  the  time  of  Partholan, 
was  the  first  man  to  build  a  house  or  make  a  cauldron  —  that 
important  vessel  of  Celtic  myth  and  ritual;  ^  while  the  first 
smelting  of  gold  was  the  work  of  Tigernmas,  a  mythic  Irish 
king.^  The  divine  origin  of  ploughing  with  oxen  has  already 
been  mentioned  —  an  interesting  agricultural  myth.^°  Brigit, 
goddess  of  poetry,  when  her  son  Ruadan  died  at  Mag-Tured, 
bewailed  him  with  the  first  "keening"  heard  in  Ireland;  and 
she  also  invented  a  whistle  for  night  signalling. ^^  So  also  the 
first  satire,  with  dire  effects,  was  spoken  by  Corpre,  poet  of 
the  gods.^^  Another  instrument,  the  harp,  was  discovered  ac- 
cidentally. All  was  discord  in  the  time  of  the  Firbolgs.  Canola 
fled  from  her  husband  and  by  the  shore  heard  a  sweet  murmur 
as  the  wind  played  through  the  sinews  still  clinging  to  a  whale's 
skeleton.  Listening,  she  fell  asleep;  and  when  her  husband, 
finding  her  thus,  learned  that  the  sound  had  lulled  her,  he 
made  a  framework  of  wood  for  the  sinews.  On  this  he  played, 
and  the  pair  were  reconciled. ^^  But  the  Irish  could  also  look 
back  to  a  golden  age  when,  in  the  reign  of  Geide  the  Loud- 
Voiced,  each  one  deemed  the  other's  voice  as  sweet  as  strings  of 
lutes  would  be,  because  of  the  greatness  of  the  peace  and  friend- 
ship which  every  one  had  for  the  other;  ^'*  and,  with  the  addition 
of  plenty  and  prosperity,  much  the  same  is  said  of  Conaire's 
reign,  until  Midir's  vengeance  overtook  him.^^  Prosperity 
was  supposed  to  characterize  every  good  king's  reign  in  Ire- 
land, perhaps  pointing  to  earlier  belief  in  his  divinity  and  the 


138  CELTIC  MYTHOLOGY 

dependence  of  fertility  on  him;  but  the  result  is  precisely  that 
which  everywhere  marked  the  golden  age.  As  elsewhere,  too, 
gods  instituted  festivals,  one  myth  telling  how  Lug  first  cele- 
brated that  of  Lugnasad,  not  in  his  own  honour,  but  to  the 
glory  of  his  foster-mother.'*^ 

The  mythic  trees  of  Elysium  were  not  unknown  on  earth, 
though  there  they  were  safely  guarded;  and  another  instance, 
besides  those  already  described,'^  is  found  in  the  oak  of  Mugna. 
"Berries  to  berries  the  Strong  Upholder  [a  god?]  put  upon 
it.  Three  fruits  upon  it,  viz.  acorn,  apple,  and  nut;  and  when 
the  first  fruit  fell,  another  used  to  grow."  Leaves  were  always 
on  this  useful  tree,  which  stood  until  Ninine  the  poet  cast  it 
down.'^  What  is  perhaps  a  debased  myth  of  a  world-tree  like 
Yggdrasil  is  found  in  the  story  of  the  tree  in  Loch  Guirr,  seen 
once  every  seven  years  as  the  loch  dried  when  its  enchant- 
ment left  it.  A  green  cloth  covered  the  tree,  and  a  woman 
sat  knitting  under  it;  but  once  a  man  stole  the  cloth,  where- 
upon the  woman  said:  — 

"Awake,  thou  silent  tide; 
From  the  Dead  Woman's  Land  a  horseman  rides, 
From  my  head  the  green  cloth  snatching." 

At  these  words  the  waters  pursued  him  and  took  half  of  his 
horse  and  the  cloth  from  him.'^ 

Few  and  fragmentary  as  these  myths  are,  they,  with  the 
classical  myths  already  cited,^°  prove  what  a  rich  cosmogony 
the  ancient  Celts  must  have  had. 


CHAPTER   XII 

THE  HEROIC   MYTHS 

I.   CUCHULAINN  AND   HIS   CIRCLE 

THE  Celts  possessed  many  myths  regarding  ideal  heroic 
figures  or  actual  heroes  who  tended  to  become  mythical. 
A  kind  of  saga  was  formed  about  some  of  these,  telling  of 
their  birth,  their  deeds,  their  amours,  their  procuring  for  men 
spoils  from  the  gods'  land,  and  their  death  or  departure  to 
Elysium;  while  round  them  were  ranged  other  personages 
whose  deeds  are  also  recounted,  and  who  may  have  been  the 
subjects  of  separate  sagas.  Groups  of  tribes  had  each  their 
hero,  who  occasionally  attained  wider  popularity  and  was 
adopted  by  other  tribes.  To  these  heroes  are  ascribed  magic 
and  supernatural  deeds.  Some  of  them  are  of  divine  origin  — 
sons  of  gods  or  reincarnations  of  gods  —  and  they  differ  in 
many  respects  from  ordinary  men  —  in  size,  or  appearance, 
or  in  power.  In  a  sense  they  are  divine  and  may  have  been  at 
one  time  subjects  of  a  cult,  but  in  the  myths  they  are  repre- 
sented as  living  and  moving  on  earth,  and  to  some  of  them  a 
definite  date  is  given.  The  three  heroes  best  known,  each  the 
centre  of  a  group,  are  Cuchulainn,  Fionn,  and  Arthur.  The 
stories  concerning  Cuchulainn,  who  is  more  prominent  than 
his  King,  Conchobar,  were  current  among  the  tribes  of  Ulster; 
those  about  Fionn  were  popular  first  in  Leinster  and  Munster, 
then  over  all  Ireland  and  the  West  Highlands;  those  about 
Arthur  were  found  among  the  Brythons. 

Cuchulainn  is  the  chief  figure  about  the  court  of  Conchobar, 
alleged  to  have  been  King  of  Ulster  at  the  beginning  of  the 
Christian    era.     The    heroes    were    "champions    of    the    Red 


I40  CELTIC  MYTHOLOGY 

Branch,"  so  called  after  a  room  in  Conchobar's  palace  of 
Emain  Macha;  and  three  are  more  prominent  and  on  some 
occasions  rivals  —  Cuchuiainn,  Conall  the  \'ictorious,  and 
Loegaire  the  Triumphant.  Others  of  the  group  are  Dechtire, 
Conchobar's  sister,  their  father  Cathbad  the  Qruid,  Fergus 
mac  Roich,  Ferdia,  Curoi  mac  Daire,  and  Bricriu,  while  Ailill 
and  Medb  of  Connaught  also  enter  into  the  saga.  The  stories 
about  these  are  over  a  hundred  in  number,  but  reference  can 
here  be  made  only  to  those  in  which  Cuchulainn  figures 
prominently. 

Some  of  the  group  are  descended  from  the  Tualha  X)e 
rXartann,  or  their  origin  is  supernatural.  One  story  makes 
Conchobar  a  natural  son  of  Nessa  by  Cathbad.  Later  King 
Fergus  mac  Roich  wished  to  marry  her,  and  she  agreed,  if  he 
would  resign  the  throne  for  a  year  to  Conchobar;  but  when 
the  year  passed,  Fergus  was  deposed,  and  the  youth  remained 
King  with  many  privileges.  He  had  the  jux^imas  noctis  over 
every. girl  in  the  province,-^nd  in  whatever  house  he  stayed 
the  wife  was  at  his  disposal;  yet  he  was  wisest  of  men,  possessed 
of  many  gifts,  and  a  great  hero.^  In  another  story  Nessa  was 
sent  for  water  by  Cathbad  and  brought  it  from  the  river 
Conchobar,  whereupon  Cathbad  forced  her  to  drink  it  because 
it  contained  two  worms.  She  became  pregnant  after  swallow- 
ing these,  and  at  birth  her  child  held  a  worm  in  each  hand  and 
was  named  after  the  river.  Some,  however  regarded  him  as 
son  of  Nessa's  lover,  Fachtna  Fathach,  King  of  Ulster.-  Thus 
three  origins  are  ascribed  to  Conchobar  —  son  of  Cathbad, 
or  of  Fachtna,  or  of  a  river  personalized  or  of  a  river-god  who 
took  the  form  of  the  worms.  A  similar  origin  is  ascribed  to 
Conall.  His  mother  Findchoem,  Cathbad's  daughter,  being 
bidden  by  a  Elniid  to  wash  in  and  drink  from  a  well  over  which 
he  sang  spells,  swallowed  a  worm  and  became  enc£inte,  the 
worm  lying  in  the  child's  hand  in  her  womb.^ 

Cu(;diiilainn  was  son  of  the  god  Lug,'*  and  though  he  was 
also  called  son  of  Sualtam,  Dcchtire's  husband,  yet  even  here 


PLATE   XVIII 

Menhir  of  Kernuz 

The  monument  shows  figures  of  Mercury  (cf. 
pp.  9,  158)  and  a  child,  and  of  a  god  with  a  club 
(cf.  Plates  IV-V).  Mercury  and  the  child  have 
been  equated  with  Lug  and  his  son,  Cuchulainn 
(see  pp.  64-65,  82-84,  I58~S9;  for  Lug  see  also 
pp.  25,  28-33,  4°?  122,  and  for  Cuchulainn  pp.  36, 
69-71,  86-88,  128,  134,  139-59,  209,  212).  The 
latter  has  also  been  identified  with  Esus,  but  with 
scant  plausibility  (see  Plates  XX,  A,  XXI). 


THE  HEROIC  MYTHS  141 

his  origin  is  semi-divine.  Sualtam's  mother  was  of  the  sid- 
folk;  he  was  called  Sualtam  sidfch  ("of  the  fairy  haunts") 
and  possessed  "the- magic  might  of  an  elf."  ^  The  super- 
natural aspect  of  some  of  the  personages  is  seen  in  Cuchulainn's 
feats  or  his  "distortion";  or  in  Tergus,  who  had  the  strength 
of  seven  hundred  men,  ate  seven  hogs  and  kine  at  a  meal, 
and  wielded  a  sword  as  long  as  a  rainbow,  while  a  seventh 
part  of  him  surpassed  the  whole  of  any  ordinary  man.^  In 
one  passage  C^nchobar  is  called  dia  talmaide  ("a  terrestrial 
god"),  while  Dechtire  is  termed  a  goddess.^  Yet  Cuchulainn 
was  not  necessarily  a  sun-god  or  sun-hero;  for  if  he  was,  why 
does  the  -Tuin,  in  which  he  plays  so  great  a  part,  take  place 
in  winter,  while  his  greatest  activity  is  from  Samhain  (Novem- 
ber) until  the  beginning  of  spring.^  Nor  is  every  mistress  of 
his  a  dawn-goddess,  nor  every  foe  a  power  of  darkness. 

The  boyish  deeds  of  Cuchulainn  were  described  to  Medb 
during  the  Tain  by  Fergus  and  others.  Before  his  fifth  year, 
when  already  possessed  of  man's  strength,  he  heard  of  the 
"boy  corps"  of  his  uncle  Conchobar  and  went  to  test  them, 
taking  his  club,  ball,  spear,  and  javelin,  playing  with  these 
as  he  went.  At  Emain  he  joined  the  boys  at  play  without 
permission;  but  this  was  an  insult,  and  they  set  upon  him, 
throwing  at  him  clubs,  spears,  and  balls,  all  of  which  he  fended 
off,  besides  knocking  down  fifty  of  the  boys,  while  his  "con- 
tortion" seized  him  —  the  first  reference  to  this  curious 
phenomenon.  Conchobar  now  interfered,  but  Cuchulainn 
would  not  desist  until  all  the  boys  came  under  his  protection 
and  guarantee.^ 

At  Conchobar's  court  he  performed  extraordinary  feats 
and  expelled  a  band  of  invaders  when  the  Ulstermen  were 
in  their  yearly  weakness. ^°  He  was  first  known  as  Setanta, 
and  was  called  Cuchulainn  in  the  following  way.  Culann  the 
smith  had  prepared  a  banquet  for  Conchobar,  who,  on  his 
way  to  it,  saw  the  youth  holding  the  field  at  ball  against  three 
hundred  and  fifty  others;  and  though  he  bade  him  follow. 


142  CELTIC  AnTHOLOGY 

Setanta  refused  to  come  until  the  play  was  over.  While  the 
banquet  was  progressing,  Culann  let  loose  his  great  watch- 
dog, which  had  the  strength  of  a  hundred,  and  when  Setanta 
reached  the  fort,  the  beast  attacked  him,  whereupon  he  thrust 
his  ball  into  its  mouth,  and  seizing  its  hind  legs,  battered  it 
against  a  rock.  Culann  complained  that  the  safe-guard  of 
his  flocks  and  herds  was  destroyed,  but  the  boy  said  that  he 
would  act  as  watch-dog  until  a  whelp  of  its  breed  was  ready; 
and  Cathbad  the  Druid  now  gave  him  a  name  —  Cu  Chulainn, 
or  "Culann's  Dog."  This  adventure  took  place  before  he 
was  seven  years  old."  Baudis  suggests  that  as  Cuchulainn 
was  not  the  hero's  birth-name,  a  dog  may  have  been  his 
manito,^^  his  name  being  given  him  in  some  ceremonial  way 
at  puberty,  a  circumstance  afterward  explained  by  the  mythical 
story  of  Culann's  Hound. ^^ 

One  day  Cuchulainn  overheard  Cathbad  saying  that  what- 
ever stripling  assumed  arms  on  that  day  would  have  a  short 
life,  but  would  be  the  greatest  of  warriors.  He  now  demanded 
arms  from  Conchobar,  but  broke  every  set  of  weapons  given 
him  until  he  received  Conchobar's  own  sword  and  shield; 
and  he  also  destroyed  seventeen  chariots,  so  that  nothing 
but  Conchobar's  own  chariot  suiBced  him.  Cuchulainn  made 
the  charioteer  drive  fast  and  far  until  they  reached  the  dun 
of  the  sons  of  Nechtan,  each  of  whom  he  fought  and  slew, 
cutting  off  their  heads;  while  on  his  return  he  killed  two  huge 
stags  and  then  captured  twenty-four  wild  swans,  fastening  all 
these  to  the  chariot.  From  afar  Levarcham  the  prophetess 
saw  the  strange  cavalcade  approaching  Emain  and  bade  all 
be  on  their  guard,  else  the  warrior  would  slay  them;  but  Con- 
chobar alone  knew  who  he  was  and  recognized  the  danger 
from  a  youth  whose  appetite  for  slaughter  had  been  whetted. 
A  stratagem  was  adopted,  based  upon  Cuchulainn's  well-known 
modesty.  A  hundred  and  fifty  women  with  uncovered  breasts 
were  sent  to  meet  him,^"*  and  while  he  averted  his  face,  he 
was  seized  and  plunged  into  vessels  of  cold  water.    The  first 


THE  HEROIC  MYTHS  143 

burst  asunder;  the  water  of  the  second  boiled  with  the  heat 
from  his  body;  that  of  the  third  became  warm;  and  thus  his 
rage  was  calmed.  Fiacha,  who  tells  this  story,  now  describes 
the  hero.  Besides  being  very  handsome,  with  golden  tresses,j 
he  had  spven  toes  on  each^foot,  seven  fingers  on  each  handj 
and  seven  pupils  in  each  eye,  while  on  his  body  was  a  shirt 
of  gold  thread  and  a  green  mantle  with  silver  clasps.  No 
wonder,  added  Fiacha,  that  now  at  seventeen  he  is  slaughter- 
ing so  many  in  the  Tain  Bo  Cualnge}^ 

Cuchulainn's  beauty  attracted  women,  whence  Conchobar's 
warriors,  fearing  for  the  virtue  of  their  wives,  sent  him  to 
woo  Forgall's  daughter,  Emer;^^  but  to  hinder  this,  Forgall 
urged  him  to  find  Domnal  the  Warlike  in  Alba,  hoping  that 
he  would  never  return.  He  set  off  with  Conchobar,  Loegaire, 
and  Conall;  and  after  Domnal  had  taught  them  extraordinary 
feats,  he  sent  them  to  receive  instruction  from  Scathach,  who 
dwelt  to  the  east  of  Alba.  Meanwhile  Cuchulainn  had  refused 
the  love  of  Domnal's  ugly  daughter,  Dornolla.  She  vowed 
vengeance,  and  when  the  heroes  departed,  she  caused  a  vision 
of  Emain  to  rise  before  Cuchulainn's  companions,  which  made 
them  so  home-sick  that  he  had  to  proceed  alone.  Instructed 
by  a  youth,  he  crossed  the  Plain  of  Ill-Luck  safely.  On  its 
first  half  men's  feet  stuck  fast,  and  on  the  second  half  the 
grass  held  their  feet  on  the  points  of  its  blades;  but  he  must 
first  follow  the  track  of  a  wheel  and  then  that  of  an  apple  which 
rolled  before  him.  A  narrow  path  through  a  glen  would  bring 
him  to  Scathach's  house,  which  was  on  an  island  approached 
by  a  narrow  bridge,  slippery  as  an  eel's  tail,  or,  in  another 
version,  high  in  the  centre,  while  the  other  end  rose  up  when- 
ever anyone  leaped  on  it,  and  flung  him  backward.  This 
island  and  bridge  are  not  mentioned  in  the  older  recensions 
of  the  story.  After  many  attempts  Cuchulainn  reached  the 
other  side  by  his  "  salmon-leap."  Uathach,  Scathach's  daughter, 
fell  in  love  with  him  and  told  him  how  to  obtain  valour  from 
her  mother.   He  must  make  his  salmon-leap  to  the  great  yew- 


144  CELTIC  MYTHOLOGY 

tree  where  Scathach  was  teaching  her  sons,  Cuare  and  Cet, 
and  set  his  sword  between  her  breasts.  Thus  he  obtained 
from  Scathach  all  his  wishes  —  acquaintance  with  her  feats, 
marriage  to  Uathach  without  a  dowry,  and  knowledge  of  his 
future,  while  she  yielded  herself  to  him.  For  a  year  he  remained 
with  Scathach,  learning  skill  In  arms,  and  then,  despite  her 
attempts  to  hinder  him,  he  assisted  her  In  fighting  the  amazon 
Aife  and  her  warriors.  Having  discovered  that  Aife  loved 
above  all  else  her  charioteer  and  chariot-horses,  he  exclaimed, 
as  he  fought  her,  that  these  had  perished.  She  looked  aside, 
and  that  moment  Cuchulainn  overcame  her  and  made  her 
promise  never  again  to  oppose  Scathach.  From  his  a7nour 
with  Aife,  a  son  would  be  born  called  Conlaoch,  who  was  to 
wear  a  ring  which  Cuchulainn  left  for  him  and  to  seek  his 
father  when  he  was  a  warrior  of  seven  years  old.  He  must 
make  himself  known  to  none,  turn  aside  for  none,  and  refuse 
combat  to  none. 

On  his  return  to  Scathach  Cuchulainn  slew  a  hag  who 
disputed  the  crossing  of  the  bridge  of  leaps,  and  Scathach 
bound  him  and  Ferdlad,  Fraoch,  Naisi,  and  Fergus,  whom  she 
had  trained,  never  to  combat  with  each  other.  While  going 
home  to  Ireland  he  slew  the  Fomorians  to  whom  Devorgllla, 
daughter  of  the  King  of  the  Isles,  was  to  be  given  in  trib- 
ute—  an  early  Celtic  version  of  the  story  of  Perseus  and 
Andromeda. ^^ 

Though  Devorgllla  was  awarded  to  Cuciualalnn,  he  after- 
ward gave  her  to  Lugaid  as  wife,  since  he  himself  was  to  marry 
£mer;  whereupon  Devorgllla  and  her  handmaid  sought  the 
hero  in  the  form  of  birds,  and  when  he  wounded  them,  their 
true  form  appeared.  Cuchulainn  sucked  out  the  sling-stone 
and  with  it  some  blood;  and  for  this  reason  also  he  could  not 
wed  her,  for  he  had  drunk  her  blood  —  a  mythical  version  of 
the  rite  of  blood  brotherhood.  He  now  carried  off  Emer  despite 
Forgall's  opposition,  and  she  became  his  wife,  though  not  be- 
fore Conchobar  exercised  his  royal  prerogative  on  her.^^ 


THE   HEROIC  MYTHS  145 

The  feats  which  Cuchulainn  learned  from  Scathach  are  no 
longer  intelligible  and  are  probably  exaggerated  or  imaginary 
warrior  exploits.  Scathach  and  Aife  may  be  reminiscences 
of  actual  Celtic  female  warriors,  though  the  hero's  visit  to 
Scathach's  isle  is  akin  to  his  journey  to  Fand  —  it  is  a  visit  to 
a  divine  land,  whose  people  are  sometimes  at  war  (as  in  the 
stories  of  Fand  and  Loegaire),  but  where  wisdom,  valour,  and 
other  things  may  be  gained  by  mortals. 

When  Conlaoch  came  to  Ireland,  his  father's  injunctions 
were  the  cause  of  his  slaying  his  own  son  In  ignorance  with 
his  marvellous  spear,  the  gai  holga;  and  when  he  recognized 
the  ring  which  his  son  wore,  great  was  his  sorrow. ^^  This  is 
a  Celtic  version  of  the  story  of  Suhrab  and  Rustam.^" 

Cuchulainn  did  not  at  once  become  hero  of  Ulster.  In  the 
story  of  Mac  Ddtho's  Boar,  to  which  reference  has  already 
been  made,  the  hero  Is  Conall,  who  never  passed  a  day  without 
killing  a  Connaughtman  or  slept  without  a  Connaughtman's 
head  under  his  knee.  BrIcriu,  the  provoker  of  strife,  advised 
that  each  man  should  get  a  share  of  the  boar  according  to 
his  warlike  deeds.  Cet  of  Connaught  was  chief  until  Conall 
arrived  and  put  him  to  shame;  and  then,  though  the  boar's 
tail  required  sixty  men  to  carry  it,  he  sucked  it  into  his  mouth, 
allotting  scanty  portions  to  the  men  of  Connaught.  In  the 
fight  which  ensued  the  latter  were  routed,  Mac  Datho's  hound 
siding  with  the  Ulstermen.^^ 

The  Fled  Brier  end,  or  Feast  of  Bricriu,  tells  of  a  feast 
made  for  Conchobar  and  his  men  by  Bricriu  in  a  vast  house 
built  for  this  purpose.  Bricriu  prepared  for  himself  a  balcony 
with  a  window  looking  down  on  the  hall,  for  he  knew  that  the 
Ulstermen  would  not  allow  him  to  enter  It;  yet  they  feared  to 
accept  the  invitation  lest  he  should  provoke  quarrels  among 
them,  and  the  dead  should  outnumber  the  living.  Thereupon 
he  asserted  that  If  they  refused,  he  would  do  still  worse;  and 
after  discussion  It  was  agreed  that  they  should  go,  but  that 
Bricriu  should  be  guarded  from  entering  the  feast.    In  the 


146  CELTIC  MYTHOLOGY 

sequel,  however,  he  provoked  a  quarrel  between  Loegaire, 
Conall,  and  Cuchulainn  as  to  which  of  them  should  receive 
the  champion's  portion;  whereupon  each  claimed  it,  and  a 
fight  arose  between  them  in  the  hall.  This  reflects  actual 
Celtic  custom,  for  Poseidonius  speaks  of  festivals  at  which  a 
quarter  of  pork  was  taken  by  the  bravest;  and  if  another 
claimed  it,  they  fought  until  one  was  killed.^-  Conchobar 
separated  the  heroes,  and  Sencha  announced  that  the  question 
should  be  submitted  to  Ailill,  King  of  Connaught,  Meanwhile 
Bricriu  stirred  up  strife  among  the  heroes'  wives,  who  had  left 
the  hall,  by  telling  each  in  turn  that  she  should  have  the  right 
of  first  entry;  and  this  caused  a  quarrel  among  them,  every 
one  extolling  her  own  husband.  Loegaire  and  Conall  each  made 
a  breach  in  the  wall  so  that  his  wife  should  enter  first,  the  door 
having  been  closed;  but  Cuchulainn  removed  one  side  of  the 
house,  and  his  wife  Emer  had  precedence.  Bricriu  then  de- 
manded that  the  damage  should  be  repaired,  but  none  could 
do  this  save  Cuchulainn,  and  he  only  after  extraordinary 
exertions.  Conchobar  now  bade  the  heroes  go  to  Curol  mac 
Daire,  whose  judgements  were  always  equitable,  In  order 
that  he  might  settle  the  question. 

On  his  way  Loegaire  encountered  a  repulsive  giant  with  a 
cudgel,  who  beat  him  and  made  him  return  without  horses, 
chariot,  or  charioteer;  and  Conall  met  the  same  fate,  Cuchu- 
lainn alone  being  able  to  overcome  the  giant  and  to  return  In 
triumph  with  arms  and  horses.  Bricriu  thereupon  announced 
that  the  champion's  morsel  was  Cuchulalnn's,  but  his  rivals 
objected,  saying  that  one  of  his  friends  of  the  side  had  over- 
come them.  The  Ulstermen  now  sought  judgement  from  Ailill, 
but  Cuchulainn  remained  behind  to  amuse  the  women  with 
his  feats  until  Loeg,  his  charioteer,  reproached  him  with  delay. 
By  the  swiftness  of  their  chariot-horses  they  arrived  first  at 
AillU's  palace,  where  water  was  brought  by  a  hundred  and 
fifty  young  girls  to  provide  baths  for  the  heroes,  and  the  most 
beautiful  of  these  accompanied  them  to  their  couches,  Ciichu- 


THE  HEROIC  MYTHS  147 

lainn  choosing  FIndabair,  Ailill's  daughter.  AiHU  asked  three 
days  and  nights  to  consider  the  question,  and  on  the  first 
night  three  cats  —  "druidic  beasts"  from  the  cave  of  Cruachan 
—  arrived.  Conall  and  Loegaire  abandoned  their  food  to 
them,  but  Cuchulainn  attacked  them,  and  at  dawn  the  cats 
disappeared,  after  the  manner  of  other  supernatural  beings, 
who  vanish  at  daybreak.  Ailill  was  in  despair  how  to  solve 
the  problem  of  the  championship,  but  Medb  sneered  at  him, 
and  sending  for  each  hero,  gave  him  a  cup  without  the  others 
knowing  it,  saying  that  it  would  assure  him  of  the  champion's 
morsel  at  Conchobar's  board.  Meanwhile  Cuchulainn  van- 
quished the  others  in  the  sport  of  wheel-throwing,  while  he 
also  threw  needles  so  that  each  one  entered  the  eye  of  the 
other,  forming  a  single  line. 

Medb  now  sent  them  to  Ercol  and  Garmna  to  seek  their 
judgement,  and  they  referred  them  to  Samera,  who  dispatched 
them  to  the  Geniti  Glinni.  Loegaire  and  Conall  returned  with- 
out arms  or  garments;  Cuchulainn  was  at  first  overcome,  but 
when  Loeg  reproached  him,  his  demoniac  fury  began,  and  he 
attacked  them  and  filled  the  valley  with  their  blood,  taking 
their  banner  and  going  back  as  a  conqueror  to  Samera,  who 
said  that  he  should  have  the  champion's  morsel.  Returning 
to  Ercol,  the  warriors  were  challenged  to  combat  him  and  his 
horse.  Loegaire's  steed  was  killed  by  Ercol's,  and  he  fled  to 
Emain,  saying  that  the  others  were  slain  by  Ercol.  Conall 
also  fled,  but  Cuchulainn's  horse,  the  Grey  of  Macha,  killed 
Ercol's,  and  he  then  carried  Ercol  prisoner  to  Emain,  where 
he  found  everyone  lamenting  his  death.  On  the  way  Samera's 
daughter  Buan,  who  had  fallen  in  love  with  Cuchulainn,  leaped 
after  his  chariot,  and  falling  on  a  rock,  was  killed.  A  feast 
was  prepared  at  Emain  Macha  and  now  each  hero  produced 
his  cup  in  expectation  of  the  award.  Cuchulainn's  cup,  how- 
ever, of  gold  and  precious  stones,  proved  the  most  valuable 
and  beautiful,  and  all  would  have  given  him  the  championship, 
had  not  his  rivals  maintained  that  this  was  not  a  true  judge- 


148  CELTIC  MYTHOLOGY 

ment  and  threatened  to  attack  the  hero.  Conchobar  therefore 
sent  them  to  Yellow,  son  of  Fair,  who  bade  them  go  to  Terror, 
son  of  Great  Fear,  a  giant  who  could  assume  whatever  form 
pleased  him.  He  proposed  the  "covenant  of  the  axe,"  which 
Loegaire  and  Conall  refused,  whereas  Cuchulainn  accepted 
it,  provided  they  would  acknowledge  his  supremacy,  the  cov- 
enant being  that  Cuchulainn  should  cut  off  Terror's  head 
today,  while  Terror  cut  off  his  tomorrow.  When  Cuchulainn 
did  his  part,  Terror  took  his  head  and  axe  and  plunged  into 
his  loch;  but  next  day  he  appeared,  and  Cuchulainn  placed 
himself  in  position.  Three  times  Terror  drew  the  axe  over 
his  neck  and  then  bade  him  rise  in  token  of  his  bravery;  but 
still  his  rivals  would  not  give  way,  so  that  now  the  Ulstermen 
bade  them  seek  the  judgement  of  Curoi.  This  axe  game  is 
found  in  Arthurian  romance  in  the  story  of  Sir  Gazvayne  and 
the  Green  Knight,  and  it  is  apparently  based  on  an  actual 
Celtic  custom  of  a  man,  in  token  of  bravery,  after  an  entertain- 
ment, allowing  someone  to  cut  his  throat  with  a  sword. -^ 

At  Curoi's  castle  Blathnat,  his  wife,  welcomed  them  in  his 
absence,  though  he  knew  they  would  come,  and  she  bade  them 
take  turns  in  guarding  it.  In  whatever  part  of  the  world  Curoi 
was,  he  sang  a  spell  over  the  castle  at  night,  and  it  revolved 
as  swiftly  as  a  millstone,  so  that  the  entrance  could  not  be 
found  —  an  incident  found  elsewhere  in  Celtic  romance. 
Loegaire  took  the  first  watch  and  saw  a  giant  approaching 
from  the  sea,  as  high  as  heaven  and  bearing  oak-trees  in  his 
hands,  which  he  threw  at  Loegaire,  missing  him  each  time,  after 
which  the  monster  stretched  out  his  hand,  and  squeezing  him 
till  he  was  half-dead,  threw  him  outside  the  castle.  Next 
night  Conall  met  the  same  fate.  On  the  night  when  Cuchulainn 
watched,  the  three  goblins  of  Sescind  Uairbeoil,  the  three 
herdsmen  of  Bregia,  and  the  three  sons  of  Big-Fist  the  Siren 
were  to  unite  to  take  the  castle,  while  the  spirit  of  the  lake 
near  by  would  swallow  it  whole;  but  Cuchulainn  slew  the 
nine  foes  when  they  arrived,  as  well  as  two  other  bands  of  nine, 


THE  HEROIC  MYTHS  149 

making  a  cairn  of  their  heads  and  arms.  Wearied  and  sad, 
he  now  heard  the  loch  roaring  like  the  sea  and  saw  a  monster 
emerging  from  it  and  approaching  with  open  jaws  to  gulp  the 
castle  down.  With  one  leap  he  came  behind  it,  tore  out  its 
heart,  and  cutting  off  its  head,  placed  it  on  the  heap.  At  dawn 
the  giant  arrived,  and  when  he  stretched  out  his  hand,  Cuchu- 
lainn  made  his  salmon-leap  and  whirled  his  sword  round  his 
head,  whereupon  the  monster  vanished  after  having  agreed 
to  grant  his  three  wishes  —  the  sovereignty  of  Ireland's  heroes, 
the  champion's  morsel,  and  precedence  for  Emer  over  the 
women  of  Ulster.  Cuchulainn's  leap  had  brought  him  outside 
the  castle,  but  after  several  trials  he  sprang  back  into  it  with 
a  sigh,  and  Blathnat  said,  "That  Is  a  sigh  of  victory."  When 
Curoi  arrived,  he  found  the  trophies  outside  his  castle  and 
gave  judgement  In  Cuchulainn's  favour. 

Later,  when  all  three  were  absent  from  Emain  Macha,  a 
huge  boor  arrived,  carrying  a  tree,  a  vast  beam,  and  an  axe 
with  a  handle  which  required  a  plough-team  to  move  it.  He 
announced  that  he  had  sought  everywhere  for  a  man  capable 
of  fighting  him  and  proposed  the  covenant  of  the  axe.  This 
passage  repeats  grotesquely  the  former  Incident,  save  that 
Fat-Neck,  who  struck  off  the  boor's  head,  refused  to  fulfil 
his  part  of  the  covenant,  as  also  did  Loegaire  and  Conall  on 
their  return.  Cuchulainn  took  his  place,  but  the  boor  spared 
him,  calling  him  the  bravest  of  warriors  and  fulfilling  for  him 
the  three  wishes  he  had  made;  for  he  was  none  other  than 
Curoi,  who  had  taken  first  the  giant's,  then  the  boor's  form.^* 

The  story  of  The  Exile  of  the  So7is  of  Doel  the  Forgotten 
{Longes  mac  nDuil  Dermait)  opens  with  a  version  of  Bricriu's 
Feast.  Cuchulainn  had  been  cursed  by  Eocho  Rond  to  have 
no  rest  until  he  discovered  why  Doel's  sons  left  their  country. 
With  Loeg  and  Lugald  he  captured  the  ship  of  the  King  of 
Alba's  son,  who  gave  him  a  charm;  and  thus  they  reached  an 
Island  with  a  rampart  of  silver  and  a  palisade  of  bronze,  while 
on  It  was  a  castle  where  dwelt  a  royal  pair  —  RIangabair  and 


ISO  CELTIC  MYTHOLOGY 

Finnabair  —  with  three  beautiful  daughters.  These  welcomed 
them,  because  Loeg  was  their  son;  and  Riangabair  told  Cuchu- 
lainn  that  the  sister  of  Doel's  sons  and  her  husband  were  in 
a  southern  isle.  In  the  morning  Cuchulainn  gave  a  ring  to 
Etan,  one  of  the  daughters,  who  had  slept  with  him,  and 
then  sailed  for  the  isle.  Connla,  husband  of  Achtland,  Doel's 
daughter,  had  his  head  against  a  stone  in  the  west  of  the  isle, 
and  his  feet  against  another  in  the  east  —  a  position  resembling 
that  in  which  Nut  is  represented  above  the  earth  in  Egyptian 
mythology.^^  Achtland  was  combing  his  hair.  As  the  ship 
approached,  Connla  blew  so  violently  that  a  wave  was  formed, 
but  as  no  diviner  had  announced  danger  from  Cuchulainn, 
he  was  allowed  to  land.  Achtland  made  him  a  sign  and  then 
said  that  she  knew  where  her  brothers  were  and  that  she 
would  go  with  him,  for  it  was  foretold  that  he  would  rescue 
them.  They  reached  an  is]and  where  two  women  were  cutting 
rushes,  and  one  of  them  sang  of  seven  Kings  who  ruled  it. 
Cuchulainn  brained  her,  whereupon  the  other  told  him  the 
names  of  the  Kings,  one  of  whom  was  Coirpre,  Doel's  brother. 
Coirpre  attacked  Cuchulainn,  but  was  forced  to  sue  for  mercy 
and  carried  him  into  the  castle,  where  he  gave  him  his  daughter 
and  told  him  the  story  of  Doel's  sons.  Next  day  Eocho  Glas 
arrived  to  fight  Coirpre,  and  Cuchulainn  leaped  on  the  edge 
of  his  shield,  but  Eocho  blew  him  into  the  sea.  Now  he  leaped 
on  the  boss  of  the  shield,  again  on  Eocho  himself,  and  both 
times  he  was  blown  into  the  ocean;  but  at  last  he  slew  his  foe 
with  the  gai  bolga.  Then  came  the  side  whom  Eocho  had 
outraged,  among  them  Doel's  sons,  and  bathed  in  his  blood 
to  wash  away  the  shame.  Cuchulainn  returned  to  Riangabair's 
isle,  where  he  slept  with  Finnabair,  and  finally  reaching  Emain 
Macha,  he  went  thence  to  Ailill  and  Medb,  who  caused  Eocho 
Rond  to  be  brought.  He  had  fought  Cuchulainn  because  his 
daughter  Findchoem  loved  him,  and  on  her  account  had  put 
geasa  (spells)  on  the  hero,  who  now,  having  fulfilled  them, 
demanded  and  obtained  her.^° 


THE  HEROIC  MYTHS  151 

Both  these  tales  contain  many  primitive  traits  and  mythical 
Incidents  which  throw  considerable  light  on  earlier  Celtic  folk- 
belief. 

Previous  to  Bricriu's  feast  must  be  placed  a  story  In  which 
Curol  discomfited  Cuphulainn.  He  joined  the  hero  and  others 
In  attacking  the  stronghold  of  the  god  Midir  In  the  Lale__of 
Falga  (  =  the  Land_Q£PromIse)  and  led  them  into  It  when  their 
efforts  failed  through  the  juag^Ic  of  Its  defenders,  his  condition 
being  that  he  must  have  whatever  jewel  he  chose.  The  in- 
vaders carried  off  MIdlr's  three  cows,  his  cauldron,  and  his 
daughter  Blathnat.  To  Cuchulalnn's  chagrin,  however,  Curoi 
chose  her  and  took  her  away  by  magic;  and  though  the  hero 
pursued  him,  he  was  bound  hand  and  foot  by  Curoi  and  shaved 
with  his  sword. ^^  Another  version  of  this  exploit,  or  per- 
haps of  an  analogous  feat,  tells  how  Cuchulainn  journeyed  to 
Scath  and  by  aid  of  the  King's  daughter  stole  a  cauldron, 
three  cows,  and  much  gold;  but  his  coracle  was  wrecked,  and 
he  had  to  swim  home  with  his  men  clinging  to  hlm.^^ 

When  Cuchulainn  went  to  obtain   Curol's  judgement,   he 

may  have  come  to  an  arrangement  with  Blathnat,  for  Keating 

says  that,  finding  him  alone,  she  told  him  that  she  loved  him,^^ 

while  a  story  In  the  Dind'senchas  describes  her  as  his  paramour 

and  declares  that  she  bade  him  come  and  take  his  revenge. 

She  brought  it  about  that  Curoi  was  alone  in  his  castle  and 

as  a  signal  she  caused  milk  to  flow  down-stream  to  Cuchulainn, 

whereupon  he  entered  and  slew  Curoi,  whose  sword  Blathnat 

had   taken.^'^    In   another  version,   however,   the   incident  of 

the  separable  soul  occurs.    Curol's  soul  was  In  an  apple,  and 

this  In  a  salmon,  which  appeared  every  seven  years  In  a  certain 

well,  while  the  apple  could  be  split  only  by  Curol's  sword. 

This  knowledge  was  obtained  by  Curol's  wife,  as  In  parallel 

stories,  and  the  sword  given  by  her  to  Cuchulainn,  who  thus 

compassed   her  husband's   death.^^    The   folk-tale  formula   Is 

thus   complete,   though   doubtless   Curoi   Is   a  genuine   Celtic 

personality,  whose  fame  was  known  to  Welsh  bards.^^    Prob- 
III — II 


152  CELTIC  MYTHOLOGY 

ably  a  complete  saga  existed  about  this  great  hero  or  divinity 
and  magician,  who,  according  to  another  story,  with  his  magic 
wand  took  possession  of  Ireland  and  the  great  world. ^^  The 
slaying  of  Curoi  should  be  compared  with  that  of  Lieu,  brought 
about  by  Blodeuwedd's  treachery,  and  with  the  killing  of 
Searbhan  by  his  own  club,  especially  as  Blodeuwedd's  name, 
meaning  "Flower-Face,"  from  blodeu  ("flowers")  is  akin  to 
Blathnat's,  which  is  probably  from  bldth  ("bloom").  In  the 
sequel  Curoi's  poet  avenged  his  death  by  leaping  off  a  cliff 
with  Blathnat  in  his  arms.^^ 

The  greatest  adventure  in  Cuchulainn's  career  occurs  in 
the  Tain  Bo  Ciialnge,  or  Cattle-Raid  of  Cilalnge,''  to  which 
belong  a  number  of  prefatory  tales,  some  of  them  already 
cited.  Only  the  briefest  account  of  this  long  story  can  be  given 
here.  Queen  Medb  of  Connaught  desired  the  Donn  or  Brown 
Bull  of  Cualnge  in  Ulster,  so  that  she  might  have  the  equivalent 
of  her  husband  Ailill's  bull,  the  Findbennach,  or  "White- 
Horned,"  these  bulls,  as  narrated  above,^^  being  rebirths  of 
semi-divinities.  When  Daire,  owner  of  the  bull,  refused  to  give 
it,  Medb  collected  an  enormous  force  to  march  against  Ulster 
at  the  time  when  the  Ulstermen  were  in  their  "debility" — 
the  result  of  Macha's  curse,^^  Cuchulainn  and  Sualtam  were 
unaffected  by  that  curse,  however,  and  they  went  against  the 
host,  in  which  were  some  heroes  of  Ulster,  Cormac,  Conall, 
Fiacha,  and  Fergus,  exiled  because  of  a  quarrel  with  Conchobar 
for  his  treacherous  murder  of  the  sons  of  Usnech.  As  Medb 
set  out,  a  beautiful  girl  suddenly  appeared  on  her  chariot- 
shaft,  announcing  herself  as  servant  of  Aledb's  people,  Fedelm 
the  prophetess  {ba7ifaid)  from  the  sid  of  Cruachan  (hence  Medb 
was  also  of  the  side);  but  she  prophesied  disaster  because  of 
Cuchulainn,  whom  she  saw  in  a  vision. 

Cuchulainn,  having  entered  a  forest,  stood  on  one  leg,  and 
using  one  hand  and  one  eye,  he  cut  down  an  oak  sapling,  which 
he  twisted  into  a  ring,  inscribing  on  it  his  name,  and  placing 
it  over  a  pillar-stone.  This  was  a  geis  (tabu)  to  the  host  not  to 


PLATE  XIX 

Bulls  and  S-Symbols 

1.  6.  Bulls,  conventionally  treated,  with  the 
characteristic  Celtic  spiral  ornament.  From  stones 
found  at  Burghhead  near  Forres,  Elginshire.  Simi- 
lar figures  exist  on  stones  at  Inverness  and  Ulbster 
(Caithness).  They  are  believed  to  date  from  the 
Christian  Celtic  period,  but  perhaps  represent  a 
pagan  tradition.  Cf.  also  Plates  II,  4-5,  9,  III,  5, 
IX,  B,  XX,  B,  XXI. 

2-5.  S-symbol,  also  believed  to  be  of  the  Celtic 
Christian  period,  but  doubtless  derived  from  the 
same  symbol  as  used  on  Gaulish  coins  and  carried 
by  a  divinity  (see  Plates  II,  2,  4,  7-9,  11,  III,  3, 
IV). 

2.  On  a  silver  brooch  found  at  Croy,  Inverness- 
shire. 

3.  On  a  stone  found  at  Kintradwell,  Sutherland- 
shire.     It  exists  on  a  few  other  stones. 

4.  Engraved  with  numerous  other  figures  and 
symbols  on  a  cave  at  East  Wemyss,  Fife. 

5.  On  a  silver  ring  attached  to  a  chain  found  at 
Parkhill,  Aberdeenshire. 


THE   HEROIC  MYTHS  153 

advance  until  they  had  done  the  same;  and  meanwhile  he 
kept  tryst  with  Conchobar's  daughter  Fedelm  or  with  her 
handmaid.  Again  entering  a  wood,  he  cut  down  the  fork  of 
a  tree,  placed  on  it  four  heads  of  the  enemy  slain  by  him,  and 
set  it  in  a  ford  to  prevent  the  chariots  from  passing  until  it 
was  drawn  out.  Now  he  slew  hundreds  of  the  host,  but  a 
treaty  was  made  that  every  day  a  warrior  should  meet  him  in 
single  combat,  while  he  allowed  the  army  to  proceed.  These 
combats,  described  with  great  spirit,  as  well  as  other  daring 
deeds  of  Cuchulainn's,  occupy  the  greater  part  of  the  Tain, 
but  none  of  them  is  so  full  of  interest  and  pathos  as  the  long 
episode  of  the  fight  with  Ferdia,  his  former  fellow-pupil  with 
Scathach,  whom  at  last  to  his  sorrow  he  slew. 

One  incident  tells  of  the  warning  given  by  the  goddess 
Morrigan,  in  the  form  of  a  bird,  to  the  bull  to  beware  of  Medb's 
men,  so  that  with  fifty  heifers  he  fled  to  the  Heifer's  Glen, 
but  was  ultimately  taken  and  brought  to  Medb's  host;  and 
another  passage  describes  Cuchulainn's  rejection  of  Morri- 
gan's  advances,  and  her  wounding  and  later  healing  by  him.^'' 
There  is  also  the  incident  of  Medb's  sending  her  women  to 
bid  him  smear  a  false  beard  on  himself  when  her  warrior,  Loch, 
refused  to  fight  this  beardless  youth,  whereupon  he  said  a  spell 
over  some  grass  and  clapped  it  to  his  chin,  so  that  all  thought 
he  had  a  beard.  The  help  given  to  Ciidniiainn  by  Lug  has 
already  been  described ;^^  and  the  Tuatha  ne-Danann  likewise 
aided  him  by  throwing^  healing  he-rbs  and  plants  into  the 
streams  in  which  his  wounds  were^jKa&b^d.-  Interesting  is  the 
long  account  of  his  riastrad,  or  "distortion,"  before  wreaking 
his  fury  on  the  men  of  Connaught  for  slaying  the  "boy  corps" 
of  Emain.  He  grew  to  an  immense  size  and  quivered  in  every 
limb,  while  his  feet,  shins,  and  knees  were  reversed  in  his 
body.  This  was  the  permanent  condition  of  Levarcham  and 
Dornolla,  already  mentioned,  and  implied  swiftness  and 
strength,  since  Levarcham  traversed  all  Ireland  every  day. 
Of  Cuchulainn's  eyes,  one  sank  in  his  head  so  that  a  heron 


/ 


154  CELTIC  AHTHOLOGY 

could  not  have  reached  it,  while  the  other  protruded  from 
its  socket  as  large  as  the  rim  of  a  cauldron.  His  mouth  reached 
his  ears,  and  fire  streamed  from  it,  mounting  above  his  head 
in  showers,  while  a  great  jet  of  blood  higher  and  more  rigid 
than  a  ship's  mast  shot  upward  from  his  scalp,  within  which 
his  hair  retreated,  and  formed  a  mist  all  about.  This  distortion 
frequently  came  upon  Cuchulainn,  like  the  terrific  heat  some- 
times given  off  by  his  body,  enough  to  melt  deep  snow  for 
thirty  feet  around. 

During  the  progress  of  the  Tain  Ailill  sent  messengers  to 
Cuchulainn,  offering  him  his  daughter  Findabair  if  he  would 
keep  away  from  the  host.  Finally  his  fool,  taking  Ailill's 
shape,  approached  the  hero  with  Findabair,  but  Cuchulainn 
detected  the  transformation  and  slew  him,  besides  thrusting 
a  stone  through  Findabair's  mantle  and  tunic.  She  had  been 
offered  to  Ferdia  and  others  If  they  conquered  Cuchulainn; 
but  later  she  died  of  shame  because  of  the  slaughter  of  warriors 
in  the  fight  between  the  chiefs  to  whom  she  had  been  promised 
and  her  lover  Reochaid  and  his  men.  In  the  version  given  in 
the  Book  of  Lecan,  however,  she  remained  with  Cuchulainn 
when  peace  was  concluded.  This  is  the  same  Findabair  who 
Is  the  heroine  of  the  story  of  Fraoch  cited  above,  and  whose 
favours  Cuchulainn  had  already  gained. ^^ 

Meanwhile  the  Ulstermen  had  recovered  from  their  debility 
and  gathered  for  the  battle  with  the  enemy,  while  the  goddess 
A^orrigan  uttered  a  song  of  slaughter  between  the  armies. 
Meat's  forces  were  defeated,  but  she  sent  the  bull  by  a  cir- 
cuitous way  to  Cruachan;  and  seeing  the  trackless  land  before 
him,  he  uttered  three  terrible  bellowings,  at  which  the  Findben- 
nach  came  hurrying  toward  him.  Bricrlu  saw  the  wild  combat 
between  the  maddened  animals,  but  as  they  struggled  he  was 
trampled  into  the  earth  by  their  hoofs.  All  over  Ireland  they 
drove,  fighting  as  they  went;  and  next  day  the  Brown  Bull 
was  seen  coming  to  Cualnge  with  the  FIndbennach  in  a  mangled 
heap  on  his  horns.    Women  and  children  wept  as  they  beheld 


THE   HEROIC  MYTHS  155 

him,  but  these  he  slew;  and  then,  turning  his  back  against  a 
hill,  his  heart  was  rent  with  his  mighty  exertions.  Thus  ended 
the  Tdin.^^ 

Cuchulainn  was  now  seventeen  years  old,  and  to  the  few 
years  which  ensued  before  his  death  probably  belong  -his 
amour  with  the  goddess  Fand  and  that  with  Blathnat,  since 
Curoi  intended  to  oppose  him  during  the  Tain,  but  was  sent 
back  by  Medb. 

The  slaying  of  Curoi,  of  Cairbre  Niaper  in  fair  fight  at  Ros  na 
Righ,  and  of  Calatin,  as  well  as  his  twenty-seven  sons  and 
his  sister's  son,  during  the  Tain,  led  to  the  hero's  death.  Cala- 
tin's  wife  bore  posthumously  three  monstrous  sons  and  three 
daughters  who  were  nurtured  by  Medb  and  studied  magic 
arts  in  order  to  compass  Cuchulainn's  death.  Joining  at  last 
with  Lugaid,  Curoi's  son,  and  Ere,  Cairbre's  son,  they  marched 
toward  Ulster  while  its  men  were  in  their  debility.  Mighty 
efforts  were  made  to  restrain  Cuchulainn  from  a  combat  which 
all  knew  would  be  fatal  to  him,  and  he  was  at  last  concealed 
in  the  Glen  of  the  Deaf;  but  Calatin's  daughters  discovered 
this  and  created  a  phantasmal  army  out  of  puff-balls  and 
withered  leaves,  as  Lug's  witches  transformed  into  soldiers 
trees,  sods,  and  stones,  and  Gwydion  trees  and  sedges. ^^  This 
army  and  other  eldritch  things  filled  the  glen  with  strange 
noises,  and  Cuchulainn  thought  that  enemies  were  harassing 
Ulster,  though  Cathbad  told  him  that  this  was  merely  magic 
illusion.  Then  one  of  the  weird  daughters  took  the  form  of 
Niamh,  daughter  of  Celtchar,  and  speaking  in  her  name, 
bade  Cuchulainn  attack  the  foes  who  were  overwhelming 
Ulster.  Neither  the  protestations  of  the  real  Niamh,  nor  of 
Dechtire,  nor  of  Conchobar,  nor  the  assurances  of  Cathbad 
that  the  hosts  were  illusions  could  withhold  him.  On  his  way 
to  Emain  he  saw  Badb's  daughter  washing  blood  from  a 
warrior's  gear  —  the  "Washer  at  the  Ford,"  a  prophecy  of 
his  own  death  —  but  he  was  resolute  and  cheerful  in  face  of 
the  desperate  fight  to  which  he  bound  himself.    During  the 


156  CELTIC  MYTHOLOGY 

night  Morrigan  broke  his  chariot,  hoping  thus  to  stay  him 
from  the  combat,  but  next  morning  he  bade  it  be  yoked  with 
the  Grey  of  Macha,  though  the  horse  reproached  him.  On  his 
way  three  crones,  cooking  dog's  flesh  with  poisons  and  spells, 
called  him,  but  since  one  of  his  geasa  was  not  to  approach  a 
cooking-hearth  nor  to  eat  the  flesh  of  his^namesake  {cu^  ^'  <^g^^), 
he  would  have  passed  on,  had  not  the  crones  reproached  him. 
So  he  turned  aside,  took  the  flesh  with  his  left  hand,  and  ate  it, 
placing  his  hand  under  his  thigh,  whereupon  strength  departed 
from  thigh  and  hand.  In  the  fight  he  slew  many  foes,  until 
Lugaid  possessed  himself  of  Cuchulainn's  spear  and  wounded 
first  the  Grey  of  Macha,  which  plunged  into  the  loch  for  healing; 
and  then  Cuchulainn,  who  begged  permission  to  crawl  to  the 
loch  for  water.  He  set  himself  against  a  pillar-stone,  and  there 
the  faithful  horse  returned  and  killed  many  of  his  foes  with 
teeth  and  hoofs;  but  at  last  Lugaid  struck  ofl!"  Cuchulainn's 

!ead,  though  as  the  hero's  sword  fell  from  his  grasp,  4t  lopped 
flF  his  enemy's  hand.  Meanwhile  Conall  was  met  by  the  horse, 
and  together  they  sought  and  found  Cuchulainn's  body,  the 
Grey  placing  its  head  on  its  master's  breast.  Conall  pursued 
Lugaid,  for  Cuchulainn  and  he  had  vowed  that  whoever 
survived  must  avenge  the  others;  and  his  own  horse  aided  him, 
biting  a  piece  from  Lugaid's  side,  while  Conall  cut  off  his 
head,  thus  taking  vengeance  for  the  hero's  death. ^- 

Lugaid,  Curoi's  son,  was  called  Mac  na  Tri  Con,  or  "Son  of 
the  Tly^ee  Dogs,"  viz.  Curoi,  Cuchulainn,  and  Con^l  —  con 
being  the  genitive  oicu  ("dog") —  because  it  was  believed  that 
his  mother  Blathnat,  Curoi's  wife,  had  loved  these  two  as 
well  as  her  husband."*^  Thus  Lugaid  killed  one  reputed  father 
of  his  and  was  himself  slain  by  another.  A  tenth  century  poem 
calls  the  three  flags  of  his  grave  Murdej^  Disgrace,  and 
Trgacliery.'''*  He  was  probably  not  Cuchulainn's  friend  Lugaid 
Red-Stripes,  who,  however,  was  also  a  son  of  three  fathers, 
Bres,  Nar,  and  Lothar,  by  their  sister  Clothru. 

In  his  old  age  Conall  retired  to  the  Court  of  Medb,  who 


THE   HEROIC  MYTHS  157 

induced  him  to  slay  Ailill;  but  for  this  the  three  Reds,  or 
Wolves,  killed  him  and  cut  off  his  head  in  revenge  for  the  death 
of  Curoi  at  the  hands  of  Cuchulainn.'*^ 

Conchobar   met   his    fate   in   a   curious   way.     Among   the 
trophies  in  Emain  Macha  was  a  sling-ball  made  of  the  brain 
of  Mesgegra,  King  of  Leinster,  slain  by  Conall.   One  day  Cet, 
whom  Conall  killed  at  the  feast  on  Mac  Datho's  Boar,  stole 
this  ball,  which  was  mixed  with  earth,  and  thus  hardened,  and 
later  induced  the  women  of  Connaught  to  get  Conchobar  to 
show  himself  to  them,  whereupon  Cet  flung  the  ball  into  his 
forehead,  whence  it  could  not  be  removed  lest  he  should  die. 
Years  after,  an  earthquake  occurred,  and  when  his  I^uid  toldj 
him  that  this  signified  our  Load's  crucifixion,  Conchobar,  whoj 
now  believed  in  God,  felt  such  emotion  at  not  being  able  tc 
avenge  Christ  that  the  ball  started  from  his  head,   and  h( 
died.46 

M.  d'Arbois  maintained  that  the  saga  of  Cuekuiainn  was 
known  in-Gaiil.  Cuchulainn's  name  Setanta  is  akin  to  that 
of  the  Setantii,  Celtic  tribes  living  in  the  district  between  the 
Ribble  and  Morecambe  Bay,  and  this,  according  to  Rhys,"^^ 
suggests  a  British  ancestry  for  the  I  risk  hero.  D'Arbois,  on 
the  other  hand,  regards  this  folk,  as  well  as  the  Brigantes,  as 
of  BelgicL£auli§Ji_|n:ovenance,  while  the  latter  had-colonies 
injreland.  They  had  a  well-known  god,  F^sus,  whom  d'Arbois 
identifies  with  Xuchulainn ;  whence  the  story  is  of  Xaaulish 
origin,  perhaps  taught  by  the.Druids^  and  it  was  ultimately 
carried  to-Ulster,  where  it  was  received  with  enthusiasm. ^^ 
The  identification  rests  on  certain  figured  monuments,  in  the 
persons,  names,  or  episodes  of  which  M.  d'Arbois  sees  those  of 
the  saga.  On  one  altar  Esus  is  cutting  down  a  tree,  while  on  the 
same  altar  is  figured  a  bull  on  which  are  perched  three  birds, 
this  animal  being  entitled  Tarvos  Trigaranos  —  "the  bull  with 
three  cranes"  {gar anus),  unless  the  cranes  are  a  rebus  for  the 
three  horns  (karenos)  of  divine  animals.  On  another  altar  from 
Treves  a  god  is  cutting  down  a  tree,  and  in  its  branches  are 


158  CELTIC  MYTHOLOGY 

a  bull's  head  and  two  birds  —  a  possible  combination  of  the 
incidents  on  the  other  altar.  AI.  d'Arbois  regards  this  as 
illustrating  the  Tdiyi.  Esus,  the  woodman,  is  Cuchulainn; 
his  action  depicts  what  the  hero  did  —  cutting  down  trees  to 
bar  the  way  of  Aledb's  host;  "^^^iis"  is  derived  from  words 
meaning  "anger,"  "rapid.jTiotion,"  such  as  Cuchulainn  often 
displayed.  The  bull  is  the  Brown  Bull;  the  birds  are  the 
forms  in  which  Alorrigan  and  her  sisters  appeared/^  though 
these  bird-forms  were  those  of  the  crow,  not  the  crane;  the 
personal  name  Donnotaurus  is  found  in  Gaul  and  is  the  equiva- 
lent of  the  Dmm  Tarb  —  the  "Broiwi  Bull."  ^°  Again,  Djodorus 
says  that  the  Dioscuri,  i.  e,-CastQi_aiid  Pollux,  were  the  gods 
most  worshipped  by  the-Celts  in  the  west  of-Gaul,^^  and  M. 
d'Arbois  finds  these  in  C4eluilainn  and  Conall  Cernach,  the 
former  being  foster-brother  of  the  latter,  having  been  suckled 
by  Eindchoem,  Conall's  mother.  He  bases  this  identification 
on  an  altar  found  at  Paris,  on  the  four  sides  of  which  are 
represented  the  Roman  Castor  and  Pollux  and  two  Gaulish 
diyinities  —  SmertuUos  attacking  a  serpent  with  a  club,  and 
an  unriamed  horned  god,  perhaps  the  god  Cernunnos  {cernu-, 
"horn").  Sjnertullos  is,  therefore,  the  native  equivalent  of 
Eolliix,  Ceraunnos  oiXlastor;  and  at  the  same  time^Hiertullos 
is  Cuchulainn,  and  Gernunnos  is  Conall  Cexnach.  In  the  Tain 
Cuchulainn  vanquished  Morrigan  as  an  eel  —  the  serpent  of 
the  monument  —  and,  again,  to  hide  his  youthfulness,  he 
srneared  ismevtkain^  henc-^  Smerlullos)  his  chin  :witli_a.  false 
beard.  As  for  Conall  Cernach,  whose  epithet  means  "victori- 
ous," M.  d'Arbois  connects  it  also  with  the  hypothetical 
Cauiii-  ("JiQrn"),  though  Conall  is  never  said  to  be  horned." 

XiUgy  Cuchulainn's  father,  was  a  widely  worshipped^Celtic 
god,  his  equivalent  in  Gaul  being  a  hypothetical  LAigus,^  .whose 
name  appears  in  place-names  there.  As  Lug  was  called 
saniildunach  ("skilled  in  many  arts"),"  Lugus  may  be  the 
Gaulish  god  equated  by  Caesar  with  Mercuiy,  whom  he  calls 
"inventor  of  all  arts"  and  associates  with  the  simulacra,  or 


PLATE   XX 

A    AND    B 

Altar  from  Notre  Dame 

A.  The  god  Esus  (cf.  p.  9)  was  perhaps  a  deity  of 
vegetation,  and  human  victims  offered  to  him  were 
hanged  on  trees.  He  has  been  identified,  though 
with  slight  probability,  with  Cuchulainn  (cf.  Plate 
XVIII).  He  is  here  shown  cutting  down  a  tree, 
the  branches  of  which  are  carried  over  to  the  next 
side  of  the  altar. 

B.  The  next  side  of  the  same  altar,  dedicated  by 
sailors  and  found  at  Notre  Dame,  Paris.  Under  the 
branches  of  the  tree  which  Esus  is  felling  stands  a 
bull  with  three  cranes  perched  on  his  back  —  Tarvos 
Trigaranos  (see  p.  9).  For  the  bull  see  also  Plates 
II,  4-5,  9,  III,  5,  IX,  B,  XIX,  I,  6.  The  subjects 
of  these  two  sides  of  the  altar  recur  in  an  altar  from 
Treves  (Plate  XXI). 


THE   HEROIC  MYTHS  159 

standing-stones,  of  Gaul.  Now  on  one  of  these  at  Kervadel 
four  bas-reliefs  were  sculptured  in  Gallo-Roman  times,  one 
of  them  depicting  the  god  Mercury  together  with  a  smaller 
childish  figure;  and  M.  d'Arbois  assumes  that  this  represents 
the  god  Lug  with  his  son  Cuchulainn.^^ 

Tempting  as  these  identifications  are,  it  must  be  confessed 
that  they  rest  upon  comparatively  slender  evidence  and  on 
what  may  be  merely  apparent  coincidences,  while  they  are  of 
an  extremely  speculative  character. 


CHAPTER   XIII 
THE   HEROIC   MYTHS 

(ConttJiued) 
II.    FIONN  AND   THE   FfiINN 

THE  annalists  gave  a  historic  aspect  and  a  specific  date 
and  ancestry  to  Fionn  and  his  men,  the  Feinn,  but  they 
exist  and  are  immortal  because  they  sprang  from  the  heroic 
ideals  of  the  folk;  if  they  were  once  men,  it  was  in  a  period  of 
which  no  written  record  remains.  Their  main  story  possesses 
a  framework  and  certain  outstanding  facts,  but  whatever  far 
distant  actuality  the  epos  has  is  thickly  overlaid  with  fancy, 
so  that  we  are  in  a  world  of  exaggerated  action,  of  magic, 
whenever  we  approach  any  story  dealing  with  the  Feinn. 
The  annalistic  scheme  added  nothing  to  the  epos;  rather  is  it 
as  if  to  the  vague  personalities  of  folk-tale  had  been  given 
a  date,  names,  and  a  line  of  long  descent,  which  may  delight 
prosaic  minds,  though  it  spoils  the  folk-tale  for  the  imaginative. 
Traces  of  the  annalistic  scheme  occur  in  the  chronological 
poem  of  Gilla  Caemhain  (ob.  1072)  and  in  the  Annals  of 
Tighernach  (ob.  1088),  which  regarded  the  Feinn  as  a  hireling 
militia  defending  Ireland,  consisting  of  seven  legions  or  Fianna 
(also  Feinn,  literally  "troops"),  each  of  three  thousand  men 
with  a  commander.  The  Feinn  of  Leinster  and  Meath  com- 
prised those  of  our  epos  —  the  clanna  Baoisgne,  its  later 
chiefs  being  Cumhal,  GoU  (of  the  clanna  Morna),  and  Fionn. 
We  are  told  of  their  arms,  dress,  and  privileges,  and  of  the 
conditions  of  admission  to  their  ranks  —  some  almost  super- 
human;' and  we  learn  that  their  exactions  became  so  heavy 
that   king  and   people   rose  against  them    and    routed    them 


THE   HEROIC  MYTHS  i6i 

at  Cnucha,  where  Cumhal,  father  of  Flonn,  fell.  Later  his 
opponent  Goll  became  head  of  the  Feinn,  and  then  Flonn 
himself;  but  as  a  result  of  their  new  pretensions  the  Feinn  were 
finally  destroyed  at  Gabhra. 

Many  Feinn  stories  are  coloured  by  this  scheme,  which  was 
applied  to  them  at  an  early  period;  yet  alongside  the  oldest 
references  to  it  we  find  stories  or  allusions  which  show  that  the 
imaginative  aspect  was  as  strong  then  as  it  was  later,  and 
that  at  an  early  date  there  was  much  Fionn  literature  so  well 
known  that  mere  reference  to  its  persons  or  incidents  sufficed.^ 

A  recent  writer  suggests  that  Fionn  was  originally  a  hero 
of  the  subject  race  of  the  Galioin  in  North  Leinster,^  who 
are  constantly  associated  with  Flrbolgs  and  Fir  Domnann. 
These  appear  to  be  remnants  of  a  pre-Celtic  population  In 
Ireland,^  and  are  usually  despised  for  evil  qualities,  though 
they  have  strong  magical  powers,  just  as  conquerors  often 
consider  aboriginal  races  to  be  superior  magicians,  If  Inferior 
human  beings.  These  races  furnished  military  service  for  the 
Celtic  kings  of  their  district  down  to  the  rise  of  the  dominant 
"Milesian"  monarchs  In  the  fifth  century;  and  of  these  Fimina, 
Fionn  (whose  name  means  "white"  and  has  nothing  to  do 
with  fianna  or  fehin),  whether  he  really  existed  or  not,  was 
regarded  as  chief.  Mac  Firbis,  a  seventeenth  century  author, 
quotes  an  earlier  writer  who  says  that  Fionn  was  of  the  sept 
of  the  Ui  Tarsig,  part  of  the  tribe  of  the  Galioin.  Cumhal, 
his  father,  of  the  clanna  Baolsgne,  is  represented  In  the  Boyish 
Deeds  of  Fionn  {Macgnimartka  Finn)^  —  a  story  copied  from 
the  tenth  century  Psalter  of  Cashel  into  a  later  manuscript  — 
as  striving  at  Cnucha  with  Uirgreann  and  the  clanna  Luagnl, 
aided  by  the  clanna  Morna,  both  subject  tribes,  for  the  chief 
Fiannship  (Fiannuigeacht).  Only  In  later  accounts  of  the 
battle  is  Conn,  the  High  King  (Ardri),  introduced,  and  though 
the  annalistic  conception  colours  the  Introduction  to  this 
otherwise  mythical  tale,  it  appears  to  be  based  on  recollections 
of  clan  feuds,  especially  as  Fionn  himself  was  later  slain  by 


1 62  CELTIC  M\THOLOGY 

members  of  the  clanna  Uirgreann.  With  growing  popularity, 
he  became  a  Leinster  Irish  hero,  fighting  against  other  Irish 
tribes,  mainly  those  of  Ulster;  but  it  was  not  until  the  middle 
Irish  period  that  the  Fionn  story,  which  had  now  spread 
through  a  great  part  of  Ireland  among  the  Celtic  folk,  with 
many  local  developments,  was  adopted  by  the  literary  class 
of  the  dominant  tribes,  as  at  an  earlier  period  they  had  taken 
over  the  Cuchulainn  saga  from  the  Ulstermen.  They  were 
rewriting  Irish  history  in  the  light  of  contemporary  events 
and  of  their  own  ambitions;  and  accordingly  they  transfigured 
and  remoulded  the  legend  of  Fionn,  which  afforded  them  an 
ever-growing  literary  structure.  The  forced  service  of  the 
Fianna  became  that  of  a  highly  developed  militia  under 
imaginary  high  kings,  whence  the  rise  of  tales  in  which  Fionn 
is  brought  into  relation  with  these  rulers  —  Conn,  Cormac, 
Art,  and  Cairbre  —  In  the  second  and  third  centuries.  The 
Fianna  became  defenders  of  Ireland  against  foreign  Invasion; 
they  battled  with  Norsemen;  they  even  went  outside  Ireland 
and  conquered  European  or  Asiatic  kings. 

In  origin  Fionn  was  the  ideal  hero  of  a  subject,  non-Celtic 
race,  as  Cumhal  had  been,  and  they  were  located  at  Almha  — 
the  Hill  of  Allen.  They  tended,  however,  to  become  historic 
figures,  associated  primarily  with  the  forced  service  of  such 
a  race,  then  with  the  later  mythic  national  militia;  but  despite 
this,  a  mythic  aspect  was  theirs  from  first  to  last,  while  the 
cycle  of  legends  was  constantly  being  augmented.  To  Oisin, 
son  of  Fionn,  are  ascribed  many  poems  about  the  Feinn:  hence 
he  must  have  been  regarded  traditionally  as  the  poet  of  the 
band,  rather  than  his  father,  who  studied  the  art  and  ate 
the  salmon  of  knowledge.  Few  excelled  in  bravery  Oisin's 
son,  Oscar.  Caoilte  mac  Ronan,  Fionn's  nephew,  was  famed 
for  fleetness;  at  full  speed  he  appeared  as  three  persons  and 
could  overtake  the  swift  March  wind,  though  it  could  not 
outstrip  him.  Diarmaid  ui  Duibhne,  who  "never  knew  weari- 
ness of  foot,  nor  shortness  of  breath,  nor,  whether  in   going 


THE  HEROIC  MYTHS  163 

out  or  in  coming  in,  ever  flagged,"  possessed  a  "beauty-spot" 
{ball-seirc)\  and  no  woman  who  saw  it  could  resist  "the  light- 
some countenance"  of  "yellow-haired  Diarmaid  of  the  women." 
Goll  of  clanna  Morna,  Fionn's  enemy,  and  then  his  friend, 
but  with  whom  a  feud  arose  which  ended  in  his  death,  was 
probably  the  ideal  warrior,  prodigiously  strong,  noble,  and 
brave,  of  a  separate  saga.  Conan  Maol  was  also  of  clanna 
Morna,  and  his  father  aided  in  slaying  Cumhal  at  Cnucha, 
for  which  Fionn  afterward  put  an  eric^  or  fine,  upon  him. 
Although  of  the  Feinn,  he  was  continually  rejoicing  at  their 
misfortunes  in  foul-mouthed  language;  and  this  Celtic  Ther- 
sites,  "wrecker  and  great  disturber  of  the  Feinn,"  was  con- 
stantly in  trouble  through  his  boldness  and  reckless  bravery 
—  "claw  for  claw,  and  devil  take  the  shortest  nails,  as  Conan 
said  to  the  devil."  In  later  accounts  he  appears  rather  as  a 
comic  character.  MacLugach  of  the  Terrible  Hand  is  also 
prominent;  so,  too,  is  Fergus  True-Lips,  the  wise  seer,  inter- 
preter of  dreams,  and  poet.  Others  come  and  go,  but  round 
these  circles  all  the  breathless  interest  of  this  heroic  epos. 
Their  occupations  were  fighting  on  a  vast  scale,  the  records 
of  which,  like  those  of  the  Cuchulainn  saga,  are  often  tiresome 
and  ghastly;  mighty  huntings,  watched  from  some  hill-top 
by  Fionn,  and  described  with  zest  and  not  a  little  romantic 
beauty  as  the  hunt  wends  by  forests,  glens,  watercourses, 
or  smiling  valleys;  lastly,  love-making,  for  these  warriors 
could  woo  tenderly  and  with  compelling  power.  Their  vast 
strength  and  size  —  one  of  their  skulls  held  a  man  seated  — 
tend  to  remove  them  from  the  puny  race  of  mere  human 
beings;  yet  though  of  divine  descent,  they  were  not  im- 
mortal, so  that  Caoilte  says  of  a  goddess:  "She  is  of  the 
Tuatha  De  Danann,  who  are  unfading  and  whose  duration 
is  perennial;  I  am  of  the  sons  of  Milesius,  that  are  perishable 
and  fade  away."^ 

While   the   Cuchulainn   legend   had   a   definite   number   of 
tales  and,  after  a  certain  date,  remained  complete,  the  Fionn 


i64  CELTIC  MYTHOLOGY 

cycle  received  continual  additions.  New  stories  were  written, 
new  incidents  invented  or  borrowed  from  existing  folk-tale 
or  saga,  until  comparatively  recent  times.  Again,  unlike  the 
Ciichulainn  saga,  the  Fionn  cycle  contains  numerous  poems; 
while  the  former  has  fewer  folk-tale  versions  of  its  literary 
stories  than  the  latter. 

The  interest  of  Fionn's  ancestral  line  begins  with  Cumhal. 
The  Boyish  Deeds  shows  him  engaging  in  a  clan  feud  with  the 
clanna  Luagni,  assisted  by  the  clanna  of  which  Morna  was 
chief.  Morna's  son  Aodh  took  a  leading  part  in  the  battle 
and  was  prominent  afterward  under  the  name  Goll  ("One- 
Eyed"),  because  he  lost  an  eye  there;  Cumhal  fell  at  his  stroke.^ 
A  different  account  of  the  battle  is  given  in  the  Leahhar  na 
hUidhre.  In  this,  Tadg,  a  Druid,  succeeded  to  Almha,  the 
castle  of  his  father  Nuada,  who  also  was  a  Druid;  and  Tadg's 
daughter  Muirne  was  sought  in  marriage  by  Cumhal,  but 
refused,  because  Tadg  foresaw  that  he  would  lose  Almha 
through  him.  Cumhal  then  abducted  her,  whereupon  Tadg 
complained  to  the  High  King,  Conn,  who  ordered  Cumhal  to 
give  her  up  or  leave  the  country.  He  refused,  however,  and 
collecting  an  army,  fought  Conn's  men,  including  Uirgreann, 
Morna,  and  Goll,  the  latter  of  whom  slew  him,  whence  there 
was  feud  between  Cumhal's  descendants  and  GoU.^ 

Although  Tadg  and  Nuada  are  called  Druids,  Nuada  is 
elsewhere  one  of  the  Tuatha  De  Danann,  and  he  is  probably 
the  god  Nuada  who  fought  at  Mag-Tured;^  while  Tadg  is 
also  said  to  be  from  the  sid  of  Almha,  which  is  thus  regarded 
both  as  a  divine  dwelling  and  as  a  fort.  Hence  Fionn  is  affili- 
ated to  the  gods,  and  another  tradition  makes  his  mother's 
father  Bracan,  a  warrior  of  the  Tuatha  De  Danann. ^°  Cumhal 
has  been  identified  with  a  god  Camulos,  known  from  inscrip- 
tions in  Gaul  and  Scotland,  whose  name  is  also  found  in 
Camulodunum  (?  Colchester).  As  Camulos  was  equated  with 
Mars,  he  was  a  warrior-god  —  a  character  in  keeping  with 
that  of  Cumhal,  though  if  the  latter  was  a  non-Celtic  hero. 


THE   HEROIC  MYTHS  165 

and  if  his  name  should  be  read  Umall,  the  identification  is 
excluded. ^^ 

Fionn,  a  posthumous  child,  was  at  first  called  Deimne.  For 
safety's  sake  he  was  taken  by  Bodhmhall  and  the  Liath 
Luchra  and  reared  in  the  wilds,  where,  while  still  a  child,  he 
strangled  a  polecat  and  had  other  adventures.^-  At  ten  years 
old  he  came  to  a  fortress  on  the  Lifi"e7,  where  the  boys  were 
playing  hurley,  and  beat  them;  and  when  they  described  him 
as  "fair"  to  its  owner,  he  said  that  his  name  should  be  Fionn 
("Fair"),  but  that  they  must  kill  him  if  he  returned.  Never- 
theless, next  day  he  slew  seven  of  them  and  a  week  later 
drowned  nine  more  when  they  challenged  him  at  swimming. ^^ 
While  this  incident  resembles  one  in  Cuchulainn's  early  career, 
in  other,  probably  later,  accounts,  the  match  takes  place 
in  the  presence  of  the  High  King,  Conn,  who  called  the  boy 
"Fionn."'"*  In  the  Colloquy  with  the  Ancients,  however,  another 
incident  is  found.  Goll  had  been  made  chief  of  the  Feinn  after 
Cumhal's  death;  and  when  ten  years  old,  Fionn  came  to 
Conn,  announcing  that  he  wished  to  be  reconciled  with  him 
and  to  enter  his  service.  Conn  now  offered  his  rightful  heritage 
to  him  who  would  save  Tara  from  being  burnt  by  Allien  mac 
Midhna  of  the  Tuatha  De  Danann,  who  yearly  made  every 
one  sleep  through  his  fairy  music  and  then  set  fire  to  the 
fortress.  Fionn  did  not  succumb  to  the  music,  because  of 
the  magic  power  of  a  weapon  given  him  by  one  of  his  father's 
comrades,  and  he  also  warded  off  with  his  mantle  the  flame 
from  Aillen's  mouth  and  succeeded  in  beheading  him,  so  that 
he  was  given  Goll's  position,  while  Goll  made  friends  with 
him  rather  than  go  into  exile.'^  In  the  account  of  Cumhal's 
death  as  given  in  the  Leabhar  na  hUidhre,  Conn  advised 
Muirne  to  go  to  her  sister  Bodhmhall,  at  whose  house  Fionn 
was  born.  Later  he  challenged  Tadg  to  single  combat,  or  to 
fight  him  with  many,  or  to  pay  a  fine  for  Cumhal's  death;  and 
Tadg,  appealing  for  a  judgement,  was  forced  to  surrender 
Almha  to  Fionn.  Peace  was  now  made  between  Fionn  and  Goll.'^ 


1 66  CELTIC  MYTHOLOGY 

The  story  of  Fionn's  "thumb  of  knowledge"  belongs  in 
some  versions  to  this  period.  To  learn  the  art  of  poetry  he 
went  to  Finneces,  who  for  seven  years  sought  to  capture  a 
salmon  which  would  impart  supernatural  knowledge  to  him 
—  the  "salmon  of  knowledge" — and  after  he  had  caught  it, 
he  bade  Fionn  cook  it,  forbidding  him  to  taste  it.  When 
Finneces  inquired  whether  he  had  eaten  any  of  it,  Fionn 
replied,  "No,  but  my  thumb  I  burned,  and  I  put  it  into  my 
mouth  after  that";  whereupon  Finneces  gave  him  the  name 
Fionn,  since  prophecy  had  announced  that  Fionn  should  eat 
the  salmon.  He  ate  it  in  fact,  and  ever  after,  on  placing  his 
thumb  in  his  mouth,  knowledge  of  things  unknown  came  to 
him.'"  This  story,  based  on  the  universal  idea  that  super- 
natural knowledge  or  acquaintance  with  the  language  of  beasts 
comes  from  eating  part  of  an  animal,  often  a  snake,  is  par- 
allel to  the  story  of  Gwion's  obtaining  inspiration  intended  for 
Avagddu  '^  and  to  that  of  the  Norse  Sigurd,  who,  roasting 
the  heart  of  the  dragon  Fafnir,  intended  for  the  dwarf,  burned 
his  finger,  placed  it  in  his  mouth,  and  so  obtained  supernatural 
wisdom.  In  German  tales  the  animal  is  a  Haselwurm,  a  snake 
found  under  a  hazel,  like  the  Celtic  salmon  which  ate  the  nuts 
falling  from  the  hazels  of  knowledge.  As  told  of  Fionn,  the 
story  is  a  folk-tale  formula  applied  to  him,  but  the  conception 
ultimately  rests  upon  the  belief  in  beneficial  results  from  the 
ritual  eating  of  a  sacred  animal  with  knowledge  superior  to 
man's.  Among  American  Indians,  Maoris,  Solomon  Islanders, 
and  others  there  are  figured  representations  of  a  medicine- 
man with  a  reptile  whose  tongue  is  attached  to  his  own,  and 
it  is  actually  believed  by  the  American  Indians  that  the 
postulant  magician  catches  a  mysterious  otter,  takes  its 
tongue,  and  hangs  it  round  his  neck  in  a  bag,  after  which  he 
understands  the  language  of  all  creatures.'^ 

When  Fionn  sought  supernatural  knowledge,  he  chewed 
his  thumb  or  laid  it  on  his  tooth,  to  which  it  had  given  this 
clairvoyant  gift;  or,  again,  the  knowledge  is  already  in  his 


PLATE   XXI 

Altar  from  Treves 

A  deity  (Esus)  fells  a  tree  in  the  foliage  of  which  a 
bull's  head  appears,  while  three  cranes  perch  on  the 
branches  (Tarvos  Trigaranos).  The  bas-relief  thus 
combines  the  subjects  of  two  sides  of  the  altar  from 
Notre  Dame  (Plate  XX). 


THE  HEROIC  MYTHS  167 

1 

thumb.  Culdub  from  the  sid  stole  the  food  of  the  Feinn  on 
three  successive  nights,  but  was  caught  by  Flonn,  who  also 
followed  a  woman  who  had  come  from  the  sid  to  obtain  water. 
She  shut  the  door  on  his  thumb,  which  he  extricated  with 
difficulty;  and  then,  having  sucked  It,  he  found  that  he  knew 
future  events.^''  In  another  account,  however,  part  of  his 
knowledge  came  from  drinking  at  a  well  owned  by  the  Tuatha 
De  Danann.^^ 

Folk-tale  versions  of  Flonn's  youth  resemble  the  literary 
forms,  with  differences  In  detail.  Cumhal  did  not  marry, 
because  It  was  prophesied  that  If  he  did  he  would  die  In  the 
next  battle;  yet  having  fallen  In  love  with  the  king's  daughter, 
he  wedded  her  secretly,  although  a  Druid  had  told  the  mon- 
arch that  his  daughter's  son  would  dethrone  him,  wherefore 
he  kept  her  concealed  —  a  common  folk-tale  Incident.  As  his 
death  was  at  hand  Cumhal  begged  his  mother  to  rear  his 
child,  but  It  was  thrown  Into  a  loch,  from  which  It  was  rescued 
by  Its  grandmother,  who  caused  a  man  to  make  them  a  room 
In  a  tree  and,  to  preserve  the  secret,  killed  him.  When  the 
boy  was  fifteen,  she  took  him  to  a  hurllng-match,  and  the  king, 
who  was  present,  cried,  "Who  Is  that  fin  cumhal  ('white 
cap')?"  The  woman  called  out,  "Fin  mac  Cumhal  will  be  his 
name,"  and  again  fled,  this  being  followed  by  the  thumb 
Incident  with  the  formula  of  Odysseus  and  the  Cyclops,  In 
which  a  one-eyed  giant  Is  substituted  for  FInneces.  Later, 
Flonn  fought  the  beings  who  threw  down  a  dun  which  was 
In  course  of  construction  and  for  this  obtained  the  king's 
daughter,  while  the  heroes  killed  by  these  beings  were  restored 
by  him  and  became  his  followers.-^  Scots  ballad  and  folk-tale 
versions  contain  some  of  these  Incidents,  but  vary  much  as 
to  Cumhal.  In  one  he  goes  to  Scotland  and  defeats  the  Norse, 
and  there  sets  up  as  a  king;  but  Irish  and  Norse  kings  entice 
him  to  Ireland,  persuade  him  to  marry,  and  kill  him  In  his 
wife's  arms.    His  posthumous  son  Is  carried  by  his  nurse  to 

the  wilds,  and  then  follows  the  naming  Incident  and  that  of 
III — 12 


1 68  CELTIC  MYTHOLOGY 

the  thumb  of  knowledge,  though  here  Black  Arcan,  Cumhal's 
murderer,  takes  the  place  of  Finneces  and  is  slain  by  Fionn 
on  learning  of  his  guilt  from  his  thumb.  Lastly  Fionn  obtains 
his  rightful  due.^'  His  birth  incident  and  subsequent  history 
is  an  example  of  the  Aryan  "Expulsion  and  Return"  formula, 
as  Nutt  pointed  out,  and  is  paralleled  in  other  Celtic  Instances. 
In  the  Boyish  Deeds  of  Fionn  Cruithne  became  Fionn's 
wife,  but  in  other  tales  he  possesses  other  wives  or  mistresses. 
In  the  Colloquy  with  the  Ancients  his  wife  Sabia,  daughter  of 
the  god  Bodb  Dearg,  died  of  horror  at  the  slaughter  when 
Fionn's  men  fought  Goll  and  the  clanna  Morna.-'*  An  Irish 
ballad  also  makes  Dearg's  daughter  mother  of  Oisin,  while 
a  second  daughter  offered  herself  to  Fionn  for  a  year  to  the 
exclusion  of  all  others,  after  which  she  was  to  enjoy  half  of 
his  society;  but  he  refused,  whereupon  she  gave  him  a  potion 
which  caused  a  frenzy.-''  Sabia,  Oisln's  mother,  is  the  Saar 
of  tradition,  whom  a  Druid  changed  into  a  deer.  Spells  were 
laid  on  Fionn  to  marry  the  first  female  creature  whom  he  met, 
and  this  was  Saar,  as  a  deer,  though  by  his  knowledge  he 
recognized  her  as  a  woman  transformed.  He  afterward  found 
a  child  with  deer's  hair  on  his  temple,  for  if  Saar  licked  her 
offspring,  he  would  have  a  deer's  form;  If  not,  that  of  a  human 
being.  She  could  not  resist  giving  him  one  lick,  however,  and 
hair  grew  on  his  brow,  whence  his  name  Oisin,  or  "Little 
Fawn."  Many  ballads  recount  this  incident,  but  in  one  the 
deer  is  Grainne,  whose  story  will  be  told  presently,^^  although 
elsewhere  she  is  called  Blai.-^  Another  divine  or  fairy  mistress 
of  Fionn's  could  assume  many  animal  shapes,  and  hence  he 
renounced  her.  Mair,  wife  of  Bersa,  also  fell  in  love  with  him 
and  formed  nine  nuts  with  love-charms,  sending  them  to  him 
that  he  might  eat  them;  but  he  refused  and  buried  them,  be- 
cause they  were  "an  enchantment  for  drinking  love."  ^^  An- 
other love-affair  turned  Fionn's  hair  grey.  Cuailnge,  smith 
to  the  Tuatha  De  Danann,  had  two  daughters,  Miluchradh 
and  Ainc,  both  of   whom  loved  Fionn.    Aine,  however,  said 


THE   HEROIC  MYTHS  169 

that  she  would  never  marry  a  man  with  grey  hair,  where- 
upon Miluchradh  caused  the  gods  to  make  a  lake,  on  which 
she  breathed  a  spell  that  all  who  bathed  there  should  become 
grey.  One  day  Fionn  was  drawn  to  this  lake  by  a  doe  and 
was  induced  to  jump  into  it  to  recover  the  ring  of  a  woman 
sitting  by  the  shore;  but  when  he  emerged,  she  had  vanished, 
and  he  was  a  withered  old  man.  The  Feinn  dug  down  toward 
Miluchradh's  sid,  when  she  appeared  with  a  drinking-horn 
which  restored  Fionn's  youth,  but  left  his  hair  grey,  while 
Conan  jeered  at  his  misfortune.-^  One  poem  offers  a  partial 
parallel  to  the  incident  of  Cuchulainn  and  Conlaoch,  without 
its  tragic  ending.  Oisin,  angry  with  his  father,  went  away  for 
a  year,  after  which  father  and  son  met  without  recognition. 
Fionn  gave  Oisin  a  blow,  and  both  then  reviled  each  other 
until  the  discovery  of  their  relationship,  when  the  dispute 
was   happily   settled. ^° 

Fionn's  hounds,  Bran  and  Sgeolan,  were  nephews  of  his 
own,  for  Ulan  married  Fionn's  wife's  sister  Tuirrean,  whom 
his  fairy  mistress  transformed  into  a  wolf-hound  which  gave 
birth  to  these  famous  dogs.  Afterward,  when  Ulan  promised 
to  renounce  Tuirrean,  the  fairy  restored  her  form.^^ 

Fionn's  adventures  are  mainly  of  a  supernatural  kind  — 
combats  with  gods,  giants,  phantoms,  and  other  fantastic 
beings,  apart  from  those  in  which  he  fought  Norsemen  or 
other  foreign  powers,  an  anachronism  needing  no  comment. 
On  one  occasion  Fionn,  Oisin,  and  Caoilte  came  to  a  mysterious 
house,  where  a  giant  seized  their  horses  and  bade  them  enter. 
In  the  house  were  a  three-headed  hag  and  a  headless  man 
with  an  eye  in  his  breast;  and  as  they  sang  at  the  giant's  bid- 
ding, nine  bodies  arose  on  one  side  and  nine  heads  on  the 
other,  shrieking  discordantly.  Slaying  the  horses,  he  cooked 
their  flesh  on  rowan  spits,  and  a  part,  uncooked,  was  brought 
to  Fionn,  but  was  refused  by  him.  Then  a  fight  began,  and 
Fionn  wielded  his  sword  until  sunrise,  when  all  three  heroes 
fell  into  a  swoon.    When  they  recovered,  the  house  had  van- 


lyo  CELTIC  MYTHOLOGY 

ished,  and  they  realized  that  the  three  "phantoms"  were  the 
three  shapes  out  of  Yew  Glen,  which  had  thus  taken  revenge 
for  injury  done  to  their  sister,  Culenn  Wide-Maw.^- 

In  The  Fairy  Palace  of  the  Quicken-Trees  {Bruighean  Caor- 
thuinn)  Fionn  defeated  and  killed  the  King  of  Lochlann, 
but  spared  his  son  Midac,  bringing  him  up  in  his  household. 
Midac  requited  him  ill,  for  he  chose  land  on  either  side  of  the 
Shannon's  mouth,  where  armies  could  land,  and  then  invited 
Fionn  and  his  men  to  the  palace  of  the  quicken-trees,  while 
Oisin,  Diarmaid,  and  four  others  remained  outside.  Presently 
Midac  left  the  palace,  when  all  its  splendour  disappeared,  and 
the  Feinn  were  unable  to  move.  Meanwhile  an  army  arrived, 
but  Diarmaid  and  the  others  repulsed  it  after  long  fighting; 
and  he  released  Fionn  and  the  rest  with  the  blood  of  three 
kings.^^  In  a  folk-tale  version  the  blood  was  exhausted  before 
Conan  was  reached,  and  he  said  to  Diarmaid,  "If  I  were  a 
pretty  woman,  you  would  not  have  left  me  to  the  last,"  where- 
upon Diarmaid  tore  him  away,  leaving  his  skin  sticking  to  the 
seat.^^  The  house  created  by  glamour  in  these  stories,  and 
vanishing  at  dawn,  has  frequently  been  found  in  other  tales. 

The  Feinn  were  sometimes  aided  by,  sometimes  at  war 
with,  the  Tuatha  De  Danann,  though  in  later  tales  these 
seem  robbed  of  much  of  their  divinity,  one  story  regarding 
them  almost  as  demoniac.  Conaran,  a  chief  of  the  Tuatha 
De  Danann,  bade  his  three  daughters  punish  Fionn  for  his 
hunting.  On  three  holly  sticks  they  hung  hasps  of  yarn  in 
front  of  a  cave  and  reeled  them  off  withershins,  while  they  sat 
in  the  cavern  as  hideous  hags  and  magically  bound  Fionn  and 
others  who  entered  it.  Now  arrived  Goll,  Fionn's  former 
enemy,  and  with  him  the  hags  fought;  but  two  of  them  he 
halved  by  a  clean  sword-sweep,  and  the  third,  after  being 
vanquished,  restored  the  heroes.  Afterward,  however,  when 
she  reappeared  to  avenge  her  sisters'  death,  Goll  slew  her  and 
then  burned  Conaran's  sid,  giving  its  wealth  to  Fionn,  who 
bestowed  his  daughter  on  him.^^    Goll  is  here  deemed  a  hero, 


THE  HEROIC  MYTHS  171 

as  in  many  poems  which  lament  his  ultimate  lonely  death  by 
Flonn,  after  a  brave  defence.  In  these  Goll  Is  superior  to  Flonn, 
and  he  was  the  popular  hero  of  the  Feinn  In  Donegal  and 
Connaught,  as  If  there  had  been  a  cycle  of  tales  In  these 
districts  in  which  he  was  the  central  figure.^^ 

Flonn  also  fought  the  Mulreartach,  a  horrible  one-eyed  hag 
whose  husband  was  the  ocean-smith,  while  she  was  foster- 
mother  to  the  King  of  Lochlann.  She  captured  from  the  Feinn 
their  "cup  of  victory"  —  a  clay  vessel  the  contents  of  which 
made  them  victorious  —  but  after  a  battle  in  which  the 
King  of  Lochlann  was  slain,  the  cup  was  recovered.  The  hag 
returned,  however,  and  killed  some  of  the  Feinn,  but  Flonn 
caused  the  ground  to  be  cut  from  under  her  and  then  slew 
her.^^  This  hag,  whose  name  perhaps  means  "the  eastern  sea," 
has  been  regarded  as  an  embodiment  of  the  tempestuous  wa- 
ters; and  in  one  version  the  ocean-smith  says  that  she  can- 
not die  until  she  is  drowned  In  "deep,  smooth  sea" — as  if 
this  were  a  description  of  the  storm  lulled  to  rest.  When  she 
is  let  down  Into  the  ground,  the  suggestion  Is  that  of  water 
confined  In  a  hollow  space ;^^  and  if  so,  the  story  is  a  roman- 
tic treatment  of  the  Celtic  rite  of  "fighting  the  waves"  with 
weapons  at  high  tides.^^ 

While  the  King  of  Lochlann  is  associated  with  this  hag,  he 
and  the  Lochlanners  are  scarcely  discriminated  from  Norsemen 
who  came  across  the  eastern  sea,  invading  Ireland  and  captur- 
ing Fionn's  magic  possessions,  his  dogs,  or  his  wife.  Yet  there 
is  generally  something  supernatural  about  them;  hence,  prob- 
ably before  Norsemen  came  to  Ireland,  Lochlann  was  a  super- 
natural region  with  superhuman  people.  Rhys  equates  It 
with  the  Welsh  Llychlyn  —  "a  mysterious  country  in  the 
lochs  or  the  sea"  —  whence  Fionn's  strife  would  be  with 
supernatural  beings  connected  with  the  sea,  an  interpretation 
agreeing  with  the  explanation  of  the  Mulreartach. 

Once  Fionn,  having  made  friends  with  the  giant  Seachran, 
was  taken  with  him  to  the  castle  of  his  mother  and  brother, 


172  CELTIC  AnTHOLOGY 

who  hated  him.  While  dancing,  Seachran  was  seized  by 
a  hairy  claw  from  the  roof,  but  escaped,  throwing  his  mother 
into  the  cauldron  destined  for  him.  He  and  Fionn  fled,  pur- 
sued by  the  brother,  who  slew  Seachran,  but  was  killed  by 
Fionn,  who  learned  from  his  thumb  that  a  ring  guarded  by 
warriors  would  heal  him  who  drank  thrice  above  it.  Diarmaid 
obtained  the  ring,  but  was  pursued  by  the  warriors,  whom 
Seachran's  wife  slew,  after  which  the  giant  was  restored  to  life.*° 
Other  stories  record  the  chase  of  enchanted  or  monstrous 
animals.  Oisin  slew  a  huge  boar  of  the  breed  of  Balor's  swine, 
which  supplied  a  week's  eating  for  men  and  hounds;  but 
meanwhile  Donn,  one  of  the  side,  carried  off  a  hundred  maidens 
from  Aodh's  sid.  Aodh's  wife,  secretly  in  love  with  Donn, 
changed  them  into  hinds,  and  when  he  would  not  return  her 
love,  transformed  him  into  a  stag.  In  this  guise  he  boasted 
that  the  Feinn  could  not  take  him,  but  after  a  mighty  en- 
counter, Oisin,  with  Bran  and  Sgeolan,  slew  him.^^  In  another 
tale  a  vast  boar,  off  whom  weapons  only  glanced,  killed  many 
hounds;  but  at  last  it  was  brought  to  bay  by  Bran,  when 
"a  churl  of  the  hill"  appeared  and  carried  it  away,  inviting 
the  Feinn  to  follow.  They  reached  a  sid  where  the  churl 
changed  the  boar  into  a  handsome  youth,  his  son;  and  in  the 
sid  were  many  splendours,  fair  women,  and  noble  youths. 
The  churl  was  Eanna,  King  of  the  sid,  his  wife  Manannan's 
daughter.  Fionn  offered  to  wed  their  daughter,  Sgathach, 
for  a  year;  and  Eanna  agreed  to  give  her,  saying  that  the 
chase  had  been  arranged  in  order  to  bring  Fionn  to  the  sid. 
Presents  were  then  given  to  him  and  his  men,  but  at  night 
Sgathach  played  a  sleep-strain  on  the  harp  which  lulled  to 
slumber  Fionn  and  the  others,  who  in  the  morning  found 
themselves  far  from  the  sid,  but  with  the  presents  beside 
them,  while  it  proved  that  the  night  had  not  yet  arrived,  an 
incident  which  should  be  compared  with  a  similar  one  in 
the  story  of  Nera.^-  This  overcoming  of  the  Feinn  by  glamour 
and  enchantment  is  a  common  episode  in  these  stories. 


THE   HEROIC  MYTHS  173 

Allusion  has  already  been  made  ^^  to  the  Tale  of  the  Gilla 
Dacker  and  his  Horse  {Toruighecht  in  Ghilla  Dhecair).  After 
the  horse  had  disappeared  with  fifteen  of  the  Feinn,  Fionn 
and  his  men  sought  them  overseas  and  reached  a  cliff  up  which 
Diarmaid  alone  was  able  to  ascend  by  the  magic  staves  of 
Manannan.  He  came  to  a  magic  well  of  whose  waters  he  drank, 
whereupon  a  wizard  appeared,  fought  with  him,  and  then 
vanished  into  the  well.  This  occurred  on  several  days,  but  at 
last  Diarmaid  clasped  him  in  his  arms,  and  together  they 
leaped  into  the  well.  There  he  found  himself  in  a  spacious 
country  where  he  conquered  many  opposing  hosts;  but  a 
giant  advised  him  to  come  to  a  finer  land,  Tir  jo  Thiunn,  or 
"Land  under  Waves,"  a  form  of  the  gods'  realm,  and  there  he 
was  nobly  entertained,  the  wizard  being  its  King,  with  whom 
the  giant  and  his  people  were  at  feud,  as  in  other  tales  of 
Elysium  its  dwellers  fight  each  other.  Meanwhile  Fionn  and 
his  men  met  the  King  of  Sorcha  and  helped  him  in  battle  with 
other  monarchs,  among  them  the  King  of  Greece,  whose 
daughter  Taise,  in  love  with  Fionn,  adored  him  still  more 
when  he  slew  her  brother!  She  stole  away  to  him,  but  was 
intercepted  by  one  of  the  King's  captains;  and  soon  after 
this,  Fionn  and  the  King  of  Sorcha  saw  a  host  approaching 
them,  among  whom  was  Diarmaid.  He  informed  Fionn  that 
the  Gilla  was  Abartach,  son  of  Alchad,  King  of  the  Land  of 
Promise,  and  from  him  Conan  and  the  others  were  rescued. 
GoU  and  Oscar  now  brought  Taise  from  Greece  to  Fionn,  and 
indemnity  was  levied  on  Abartach,  Conan  choosing  that  it 
should  consist  of  fourteen  women,  including  Abartach's  wife; 
but  Abartach  disappeared  magically,  and  Conan  was  balked 
of  his  prize.^"*  This  story,  the  romantic  incidents  of  which  are 
treated  prosaically,  jumbles  together  myth  and  later  history, 
and  while  never  quite  forgetting  that  Tir  jo  Thiunn,  Sorcha, 
and  the  Land  of  Promise  are  part  of  the  gods'  realm,  does  its 
best  to  do  so. 

Several  other  instances  of  aid  given  by  the  Feinn  to  the 


174  CELTIC  MITHOLOGY 

folk  of  Elysium  occur  in  the  Colloquy  with  the  Ancients.    The 
Feinn  pursued  a  hind  into  a  sid  whose  people  were  Donn  and 
other  children  of  Alidir.    When  their  uncle  Bodb  Dearg  was 
lord  of  the  Tuatha   De  Danann,  he  required  hostages  from 
Midir's  children,  but  these  they  refused,  and  to  prevent  Bodb's 
vengeance  on  Midir,  they  sought  a  secluded  sid.    Here,  how- 
ever,  the  Tuatha   De   Danann   came  yearly  and   slew  their 
men  until  only  twenty-eight  were  left,  when,  to  obtain  Fionn's 
help,  one  of  their  women  as  a  fawn  had  lured  him  to  the  sid^  as 
the  boar  led  Pryderi  into  the  enchanted  castle."*^    The  Feinn 
assisted  Midir's  sons  in  next  day's  fight  against  a  host  of  the 
gods,  including  Bodb,  Dagda,  Oengus,  Ler,  and  Morrigan's 
children,  when  many  of  the  host  were  slain;  and  three  other 
battles  were  fought  during  that  year,   the   Feinn  remaining 
to  assist.    Oscar  and  Diarmaid  were  wounded,  and  by  Donn's 
advice,  Fionn  captured  the  gods'  physician  and  caused  him 
to  heal  their  wounds,  after  which  hostages  were  taken  of  the 
Tuatha  De  Danann,  so  that  A^idir's  sons  might  live  in  peace. ^^ 
Caoilte  told  this  to  St.  Patrick  centuries  after,  and  he  had 
scarce  finished,  when  Donn  himself  appeared  and  did  homage 
to  the  saint.    The  old  gods  were  still  a  mysterious  people  to 
the  compilers  or  transmitters  of  such  tales,   but  they  were 
capable  of  being  beaten  by  heroes  and  might  be  on  good  terms 
with  saints.   Even  in  St.  Patrick's  time  the  side  or  Tuatha  De 
Danann  were  harassed  by  mortal  foes;  but  old  and  worn  as 
he    was,   Caoilte    assisted   them   and   for   reward   was   cured 
of  his  ailments.'*^    Long  before,  moreover,  he  had  killed  the 
supernatural    bird   of   the   god    Ler,    which    wrought   nightly 
destruction  on  the  sid^  and  when  Ler  came  to  avenge  this,  he 
was  slain  by  Caoilte.'*^  Thus  were  the  gods  envisaged  in  Chris- 
tian times  as  capable  of  being  killed,  not  only  by  each  other 
but  by  heroes. 

Sometimes,  however,  they  helped  the  Feinn,  nor  is  this 
unnatural,  considering  Fionn's  divine  descent.  Diarmaid  was 
a  pupil  and  protege  of  Manannan  and  Oengus  and  was  aided 


THE   HEROIC  MYTHS  175 

by  the  latter.'^^  Oengus  helped  Fionn  in  a  quarrel  with  Cormac 
mac  Art,  who  taunted  him  with  Conn's  victory  over  Cumhal; 
whereupon  Fionn  and  the  rest  forsook  their  strife  with  Oengus 
(the  cause  of  this  is  unknown),  and  he  guided  them  in  a  foray 
against  Tara,  aiding  in  the  fight  and  alone  driving  the  spoil.^" 
Again  when  the  Feinn  were  in  straits,  a  giant-like  being  assisted 
them  and  proved  to  be  a  chief  of  the  side,  and  in  a  tale  from  the 
Dindsenchas  Sideng,  daughter  of  Mongan  of  the  sid,  brought 
Fionn  a  flat  stone  with  a  golden  chain,  by  means  of  which  he 
slew  three  adversaries.''^  Other  magic  things  belonging  to  the 
Feinn  were  once  the  property  of  the  gods.  Manannan  had  a 
"crane-bag"  made  of  a  crane's  skin,  the  bird  being  the  goddess 
Aoife,  transformed  by  a  jealous  rival;  and  in  it  he  kept  his 
treasures,  though  these  were  visible  only  when  the  tide  was 
full.  This  bag  became  Cumhal's.^^  Manannan's  magic  shield 
has  already  been  described,  and  it  also  was  later  the  property 
of  Cumhal  and  Fionn. ^^  In  the  story  of  The  Battle  of  Ventry 
{Cath  Finntrdga),  at  which  the  Tuatha  De  Danann  helped 
the  Feinn,  weapons  were  sent  to  Fionn  through  Druidic  sorcery 
from  the  sid  of  Tadg,  son  of  Nuada,  by  Labraid  Lamfhada, 
"the  brother  of  thine  own  mother";  and  these  weapons  shot 
forth  balls  of  fire.^"*  Others  were  forged  by  a  smith  and  his 
two  brothers.  Roc  and  the  ocean-smith,  who  had  only  one 
leg  and  one  eye.^^  Whether  these  beings  are  borrowings  from 
the  Norse  or  supernatural  creations  of  earlier  Celtic  myth  is 
uncertain.  Fionn  had  also  a  magic  hood  made  in  the  Land 
of  Promise,  and  of  this  hood  it  was  said,  "You  will  be  hound, 
man,  or  deer,  as  you  turn  it,  as  you  change  it."  ^^ 

We  now  approach  the  most  moving  episode  of  the  whole 
cycle —  The  Pursuit  of  Diarmaid  and  Grainne  {Toruigheacht 
Dhiarmada  agus  Ghrdinne),  the  subject  of  a  long  tale  with 
many  mythical  allusions,  of  several  ballads  and  folk-tales,  and 
of  numerous  references  in  earlier  Celtic  literature.  Only  the 
briefest  outline  can  be  given  here,  but  all  who  would  know 
that  literature  at  its  best  should  read  the  story  itself.    Early 


176  CELTIC  M\THOLOGY 

accounts  tell  how  Fionn,  seeking  to  wed  Grainne,  had  to  per- 
form tasks;  but  when  he  had  accompHshed  these  and  mar- 
ried her,  she  eloped  with  Diarmaid.^^  In  the  longer  narrative, 
when  Fionn  and  his  friends  came  to  ask  Grainne's  hand,  she 
administered  a  sleeping-potion  to  all  of  them  save  Olsin  and 
Diarmaid,  both  of  whom  she  asked  in  succession  to  elope  with 
her.  They  refused;  but,  madly  in  love  with  Diarmaid's  beauty, 
she  put  geasa  on  him  to  flee  with  her.  Thus  he  was  forced  to 
elope  against  his  will,  and  when  the  disappointed  suitor  Fionn 
discovered  this,  he  pursued  them  and  came  upon  them  in  a 
wood,  while  in  his  sight  Diarmaid  kissed  Grainne.  At  this 
point  the  god  Oengus  came  to  carry  them  off  unseen,  and 
when  Diarmaid  refused  his  help,  Oengus  took  Grainne  away, 
the  hero  himself  escaping  through  his  own  cleverness.  Having 
reached  Oengus  and  Grainne,  "whose  heart  all  but  fled  out 
of  her  mouth  with  joy  at  meeting  Diarmaid,"  he  received 
advice  from  the  god,  who  then  left  them.  They  still  fled, 
with  Fionn  on  their  track,  while  the  forces  sent  after  them 
were  overpowered  by  Diarmaid.  For  long  he  would  not  con- 
sent to  treat  Grainne  as  his  wife,  and  only  when  he  overheard 
her  utter  a  curious  reproach  would  he  do  so.^^  From  two 
warriors,  whose  fathers  had  helped  in  the  battle  against 
Cumhal,  Fionn  demanded  as  eric,  or  fine,  either  Diarmaid's 
head  or  a  handful  of  berries  from  the  quicken-tree  of  Dubhros; 
but  when  the  warriors  came  to  Diarmaid,  he  parleyed  long  with 
them  and  at  last,  as  they  were  determined  to  fight  him,  he  bound 
them  both.  Grainne,  who  was  now  with  child,  asked  for  these 
wonderful  berries,  whereupon  Diarmaid  slew  their  giant  guar- 
dian and  sent  the  warriors  with  the  berries  to  Fionn.  He  and 
Grainne  then  climbed  the  tree;  and  when  Fionn  arrived,  he 
offered  great  rewards  to  the  man  who  would  bring  down 
Diarmaid's  head.  Oengus  again  appeared,  and  when  nine  of 
the  Feinn  climbed  the  tree  and  were  slain,  he  gave  each  one 
Diarmaid's  form  and  threw  the  bodies  down,  their  true  shape 
returning  only  when  their  heads  were  cut  ofi".    Oengus  now 


PLATE  XXII 

Page  of  an  Irish  Manuscript 

Rawlinson  B  512,  iig  a  (in  the  Bodleian  Library, 
Oxford),  containing  part  of  the  story  of  "  The  Voy- 
age of  Bran,  Son  of  Febal." 


vi]  vi^dux^i  Un  -03  |it^uib  vvn 
11  vV.o  ptovVcu/  V  call  rotltv|t)j  bi^i 
o)vobvVc4;v  nratii'-otfcUvii^rOT' 
och  fy-cecif- 1  pi"^  lui  v3  bi  W11  latinct 
■fli*)i;je-lV'-MUi  coinocpjvV:)uii.co 

Cvvo  cOfui^iit  ba lO/uuidml  be^ 
^.  i\obitJi  viceol-  ^  ;^L  vii'eiiiur^^ 
'^.  ^A'ctol  'M^abiii-oe- vlnA3p,oinc 


T^Airtrtr;  Ir5ac4.tht»vva\.qui^iu 
^nvbA.-|jv7iii^dlfeitl-i]yitMi^cer^* 

V)i9\vVdi  e-ccoimuD  t^^mbjUdi 
'  rA  e-o.\)i^KVOT.ni  bii  iuc}i  pic 
|Lc5*.oif.  -pninut)  ceul  mbin'O}^' 

0"  «1  biuJii  any  znvba  »i(Hi  bvii*.  ct  n  A 


•J-)V^lO 


a^«.  11*^5  t-oiv-givi  nei"iuv.ni<^3 
vt,u:  ^i>o  |i,a.jjife  bitj  vw> A4:  " 

y-  '^^•tul  combine-- hool  )i»iio  oei 


i!^-  tt;t)  qioib -tD  wbt? i  aiv  bi wvn  iqi 

inmn^i  n^emidiiiTsiudi  f  t^iT 

carje-  ii- aii5  cvvcliajn  in.t-ivv\riio       V1^11^«^-^?«^^^  U  culU'-ar^v^ii 

-]vir-ji»»l}VCiVcct)^huill111t)1lUV);  ■  - -' 

vX^^i^UU  coiiibUtoV)b.^i^  fVilMM-c 

'  ffii:3p;c^ibt;^j-l  c^Mutooe-^voiv 

^  ^Ui^nql^  f|v-7  v^mibu^tTo.  Cluu-^ 

^^1];^  B"?l  uw  pvt-  ^Rie,  c|\T 

y.^}  Aiib  Me  c5bladivV)b.€iirc:4nv 
-    ■  f^ittfd>rduib.i]Tf\6-ciice-^a 


"^^v  Aye;  oi|v  bttrofr  vvnn  ]i^fur.  ^•^-g- 

Biit»l  i\«-^.)ve-oi;3inAtr£Ttib 
^  -tll-^\ixjoi>c|]v-oJiuMob^iTjut- 

bi  cjuj^.  co}vTtivM"o  /e-ul  coccr 
lb  •ce-r-tn'^»cA  ard^binA^c. 
^mnv'fr  ilxjfribac  tL  dti-bejt^  oc, 
bftjud^-fotvl-npl  itmil^  inllc  mbr 


THE   HEROIC   MYTHS  177 

carried  Grainne  in  his  magic  mantle  to  the  Brug  na  Boinne, 
while  Diarmaid  alighted  like  a  bird  on  the  shafts  of  his  spears 
far  outside  the  ring  of  the  Feinn  and  fought  all  who  opposed 
him,  Oscar,  who  had  pleaded  for  his  forgiveness,  accompany- 
ing him  to  Oengus's  sid.  Meanwhile  Fionn  sought  the  help  of 
his  nurse  from  the  Land  of  Promise,  and  she  enveloped  the 
Feinn  in  a  mist,  herself  flying  on  the  leaf  of  a  water-lily,  through 
a  hole  in  which  she  dropped  darts  on  Diarmaid.  He  flung  his 
invincible  spear,  the  gai  dearg,  through  the  hole  and  killed  the 
witch,  whereupon  Oengus  made  peace  between  Fionn  and 
Diarmaid,  who  was  allowed  to  keep  Grainne. 

Fionn,  however,  still  sought  revenge  against  Diarmaid,  who 
one  night  heard  in  his  sleep  the  baying  of  a  hound.  He  would 
have  gone  after  it,  for  it  was  one  of  his  geasa  always  to  follow 
when  he  heard  that  sound,^^  but  Grainne  detained  him,  saying 
that  this  was  the  craft  of  the  Tuatha  De  Danann,  notwithstand- 
ing Oengus's  friendship.  Nevertheless  at  daylight  he  departed, 
refusing  to  take,  despite  Grainne's  desire,  Manannan's  sword 
and  the  gai  dearg;  and  at  Ben  Gulban  Fionn  told  him  that  the 
wild  boar  of  Gulban  was  being  hunted,  as  always,  in  vain. 
Now  Diarmaid  was  under  geasa  never  to  hunt  a  boar,  for  his 
father  had  killed  Roc's  son  in  the  sid  of  Oengus,  and  Roc  had 
transformed  the  body  into  a  boar  which  would  have  the  same 
length  of  life  as  Diarmaid,  whom  Oengus  now  conjured  never 
to  hunt  a  boar.  Diarmaid,  however,  resolved  to  slay  the 
boar  of  Gulban,  viz.  the  transformed  child,  though  he  under- 
stood that  he  had  been  brought  to  this  by  Fionn's  wiles;  and 
in  the  great  hunt  which  followed  "the  old  fierce  magic  boar" 
was  killed,  though  not  before  it  had  mortally  wounded  the 
hero.  In  other  versions  Diarmaid  was  unhurt,  but  Fionn  bade 
him  pace  the  boar  to  find  out  its  length,  whereupon  a  bristle 
entered  his  heel  and  made  a  deadly  wound. ^°  Diarmaid  now 
lay  dying,  while  Fionn  taunted  him.  He  begged  water,  for 
whoever  drank  from  Fionn's  hands  would  recover  from  any 
injury;  and  he  recalled  all  he  had  ever  done  for  him,  while 


1 78  CELTIC  M\THOLOGY 

Oscar,  too,  pleaded  for  him.  Fionn  went  to  a  well  and  brought 
water  in  his  hands,  but  let  it  slowly  trickle  away.  Again 
Diarmaid  besought  him,  and  again  and  yet  again  Fionn 
brought  water,  but  each  time  let  it  drop  away,  as  inexorable 
with  the  hero  as  Lug  was  with  Bran.  So  Diarmaid  died, 
lamented  by  all.  Oengus,  too,  mourned  him,  singing  sadly  of 
his  death;  and  since  he  could  not  restore  him  to  life,  he  took 
the  body  to  his  sid,  where  he  breathed  a  soul  into  it  so  that 
Diarmaid  might  speak  to  him  for  a  little  while  each  day.^^ 
Fionn,  who  knew  that  Grainne  intended  her  sons  to  avenge 
Diarmaid,  was  afterward  afraid  and  went  secretly  to  her, 
only  to  be  greeted  with  evil  words.  As  a  result  of  his  gentle, 
loving  discourse,  however,  "he  brought  her  to  his  own  will, 
and  he  had  the  desire  of  his  heart  and  soul  of  her,"  She  became 
his  wife  and  made  peace  between  him  and  her  sons,  who  were 
received  into  the  Feinn.®^ 

So  ends  this  tragic  tale,  the  cynical  conclusion  of  which 
resembles  a  scene  in  Richard  III.  A  ballad  of  the  Pursuit, 
however,  relates  that  Diarmaid's  daughter  Eachtach  summoned 
her  brothers  and  made  war  with  Fionn,  wounding  him  severely, 
so  that  for  four  years  he  got  no  healing. ^^  In  a  Scots  Gaelic 
folk-tale  Grainne,  while  with  Diarmaid,  plotted  with  an  old 
man  to  kill  him,  but  was  forgiven.  Diarmaid  was  discovered 
by  Fionn  through  wood-shavings  floating  down-stream  from 
cups  which  he  had  made,  and  Fionn  then  raised  the  hunt- 
ing-cry which  the  hero  must  answer,  his  death  by  the  boar 
following.^^  In  the  Dindsenchas  this  "shavings"  incident  is 
told  of  Olsin,  who  was  captured  by  Fionn's  enemies  and 
hidden  in  a  cave,  his  presence  there  being  revealed  In  the 
same  way  to  Fionn,  who  rescued  him.^^  Ballad  versions  do 
not  admit  that  Diarmaid  ever  treated  Grainne  as  his  wife, 
in  spite  of  her  reproaches  or  the  spells  put  upon  him;  and  it 
was  only  after  his  death  that  Fionn  discovered  his  innocence 
and  constancy,  notwithstanding  appearances. ®®  In  tradition 
the  pursuit   lasted   many   years,   and   sepulchral   monuments 


THE  HEROIC  MYTHS  179 

in  Ireland  are  still  known  as  "the  beds  of  Diarmaid  and 
Grainne."  Some  incidents  of  the  pursuit  are  also  told  sepa- 
rately, as  when  one  story  relates  that  after  an  old  woman  had 
betrayed  the  pair  to  Fionn,  they  escaped  in  a  boat  in  which 
was  a  man  with  beautiful  garments,  viz.  the  god  Oengus.^^ 

Various  reasons  for  the  final  quarrel  between  Fionn  and  GoU 
are  given,  but  in  the  end  GoU  was  driven  to  bay  on  a  sea-crag 
with  none  beside  him  but  his  faithful  wife,  where,  though 
overcome  by  hunger  and  thirst,  he  yet  refused  the  offer  of 
the  milk  of  her  breasts.  Noble  in  his  loneliness,  he  is  repre- 
sented in  several  poems  as  recounting  his  earlier  deeds.  Then 
for  the  last  time  he  faced  Fionn,  and  fighting  manfully,  he  fell, 
covered  with  wounds. ^^ 

The  accounts  of  Fionn's  death  vary,  some  placing  it  before, 
some  after,  the  battle  of  Gabhra,  which,  in  the  annalistic 
scheme,  was  the  result  of  the  exactions  of  the  Feinn.  Cairbre, 
High  King  of  Ireland,  summoned  his  nobles, and  they  resolved 
on  their  destruction,  whereupon  huge  forces  gathered  on  both 
sides,  and  "the  greatest  battle  ever  fought  in  Ireland"  fol- 
lowed. Few  Feinn  survived  it,  and  the  most  mournful  event 
was  the  slaying  of  Oisin's  son  Oscar  by  Cairbre  —  the  subject 
of  numerous  laments,  purporting  to  be  written  by  Oisin,^^ 
full  of  pathos  and  of  a  wild  hunger  for  the  brave  days  long  past. 
In  Fionn's  old  age  he  always  drank  from  a  quaigh,  for  his  wife 
Smirgat  had  foretold  that  to  drink  from  a  horn  would  be 
followed  by  his  death;  but  one  day  he  forgot  this  and  then, 
through  his  thumb  of  knowledge,  he  learned  that  the  end 
was  near.  Long  before,  Uirgreann  had  fallen  by  his  hand,  and 
now  Uirgreann's  sons  came  against  him  and  slew  him.^°  In 
another  version,  however,  GoU's  grandson  plotted  to  kill 
him  with  Uirgreann's  sons  and  others,  and  succeeded. ^^  There 
is  no  mention  of  the  High  King  here,  and  it  suggests  the  long- 
drawn  clan  vendetta  and  nothing  more.  Thus  perished  the 
great  hero,  brave,  generous,  courteous,  of  whom  many  noble 
things  are  spoken  in  later  literature,  but  none  nobler  than 


i8o  CELTIC  MYTHOLOGY 

Caoilte's  eulogy  to  St.  Patrick  —  "He  was  a  king,  a  seer,  a 
poet,  a  bard,  a  lord  with  a  manifold  and  great  train,  our  ma- 
gician, our  man  of  knowledge,  our  soothsayer;  all  whatsoever 
he  said  was  sweet  with  him.  Excessive  perchance  as  ye  deem 
my  testimony  of  Fionn,  nevertheless,  by  the  King  that  is 
above  me,  he  was  three  times  better  still."  ^'  Yet  he  had  un- 
desirable traits  —  craft  and  vindictiveness,  while  his  final  un- 
forgiving vengeance  on  Diarmaid  is  a  blot  upon  his  character. 
One  tradition  alleged  that,  like  Arthur,  Fionn  was  still  living 
secretly  somewhere,  within  a  hill  or  on  an  island,  ready  to 
come  with  his  men  in  the  hour  of  his  country's  need;  and 
daring  persons  have  penetrated  to  his  hiding-place  and  have 
spoken  to  the  resting  hero.^^  Noteworthy  in  this  connexion 
is  the  story  which  makes  the  seventh  century  King  Mongan, 
who  represents  an  earlier  mythic  Alongan,  a  rebirth  of  Fionn, 
this  being  shown  by  Caoilte's  reappearance  to  prove  to  Mon- 
gan's  poet  the  truth  of  the  King's  statement  regarding  the 
death  of  Fothad  Airglech.  "We  were  with  thee,  with  Fionn," 
said  Caoilte.  "Hush,"  said  Mongan,  "that  is  not  fair.''  "We 
were  with  Fionn  then";  but  the  narrator  adds,  "Alongan, 
however,  was  Fionn,  though  he  would  not  let  it  be  said."^^ 
Other  stories,  as  we  have  seen,  make  Mongan  the  son  of 
Manannan. 

Of  the  survivors  of  the  Feinn,  the  main  interest  centres 
in  Oisin  and  Caoilte,  the  latter  of  whom  lingered  on  with  some 
of  his  warriors  until  the  coming  of  St.  Patrick.  In  tales  and 
poems  of  later  date,  notably  in  Alichael  Comyn's  eighteenth 
century  poem,  Oisin  went  into  a  sid  or  to  Tir  na  nOg  ("the 
Land  of  Youth").  The  Colloquy  with  the  Ancients,  on  the  other 
hand,  says  that  he  went  to  the  sid  of  Ucht  Cleitich,  where  was 
his  mother  Blai,  although  later  he  is  found  in  St.  Patrick's 
company  without  any  explanation  of  his  return;  and  now 
Caoilte  rejoins  him.^^  This  agrees  with  the  Scots  tradition 
that  a  pretty  woman  met  Oisin  in  his  old  age  and  said,  "Will 
you  not  go  with  your  mother.'"'   Thereupon  she  opened  a  door 


THE  HEROIC  MYTHS  i8i 

In  the  rock,  and  Oisin  remained  with  her  for  centuries^  al- 
though It  seemed  only  a  week;  but  when  he  wished  to  return 
to  the  Feinn,  she  told  him  that  none  of  them  was  left.^^  In 
an  Irish  version  OlsIn  entered  a  cave  and  there  saw  a  woman 
with  whom  he  lived  for  what  seemed  a  few  days,  although  It 
was  really  three  hundred  years.  When  he  went  to  revisit  the 
FeInn,  he  was  warned  not  to  dismount  from  his  white  steed; 
but  In  helping  to  raise  a  cart  he  alighted  and  became  an  old 
man."  The  tales  of  his  visit  to  the  Land  of  Youth  vary.  Some 
refer  It  to  his  more  youthful  days,  but  Michael  Comyn  was 
probably  on  truer  ground  In  placing  It  after  the  battle  of 
Gabhra.  In  these,  however,  it  is  not  his  mother,  but  Niamh, 
the  exquisitely  beautiful  daughter  of  the  King  of  Tir  na  nOg, 
who  takes  him  there,  laying  upon  him  geasa  whose  fulfilment 
would  give  him  Immortal  life.  Crossing  the  sea  with  her,  he 
killed  a  giant  who  had  abducted  the  daughter  of  the  King  of 
Tir  na  m-Beo  ("the  Land  of  the  Living");  and  In  Tir  na  nOg  he 
married  Niamh,  with  whom  he  remained  three  centuries.  In  one 
tale  he  actually  became  King  because  he  outraced  Niamh's  father, 
who  held  the  throne  until  his  son-in-law  should  do  this;  and  to 
prevent  it  he  had  given  his  daughter  a  pig's  head,  but  Oisin, 
after  hearing  Niamh's  story,  accepted  her,  and  her  true  form  was 
then  restored. ^^  In  the  poem  the  radiant  beauty  and  joy  of  Tir 
na  nOg  are  described  In  traditional  terms;  but.  In  spite  of  these, 
Oisin  longed  for  Erin,  although  he  thought  that  his  absence 
from  it  had  been  brief.  Niamh  sought  to  dissuade  him  from 
going,  but  in  vain,  and  now  she  bade  him  not  descend  from 
his  horse.  When  he  reached  Erin,  the  Feinn  were  forgotten; 
the  old  forts  were  in  ruins;  a  new  faith  had  arisen.  In  a  glen 
men  trying  to  lift  a  marble  flagstone  appealed  to  him  for  aid, 
and  stooping  from  his  horse,  he  raised  the  stone;  but  as  he 
did  so,  his  foot  touched  ground,  whereupon  his  horse  vanished, 
and  he  found  himself  a  worn,  blind  old  man.  In  this  guise  he 
met  St.  Patrick  and  became  dependent  on  his  bounty."^ 

These  stories  Illustrate  what  is  found  In  all  Celtic  tales  of 


1 82  CELTIC  MYTHOLOGY 

divine  or  fairy  mistresses  —  they  are  the  wooers,  and  mortals 
tire  of  them  and  their  divine  land  sooner  than  they  weary  of 
their  lovers.  Mortals  were  apt  to  find  that  land  tedious,  for, 
as  one  of  them  said,  "  I  had  rather  lead  the  life  of  the  Feinn 
than  that  which  I  lead  in  the  sid'^ —  it  is  the  plaint  of  Achilles, 
who  would  liefer  serve  for  hire  on  earth  than  rule  the  dead  in 
Hades,  or  of  the  African  proverb,  "One  day  in  this  world  is 
worth  a  year  in  Srahmandazi." 

The  meeting  of  the  saint  with  the  survivors  of  the  Feinn 
is  an  interesting  if  impossible  situation,  and  it  is  freely  de- 
veloped both  in  the  Colloquy  with  the  Ancients  and  in  many 
poems.  While  a  kindly  relationship  between  clerics  and  Feinn 
is  found  in  the  Colloquy,  even  there  Caoilte  and  Oisin  regret 
the  past.  Both  here  and  in  the  poems  St.  Patrick  shows  much 
curiosity  regarding  the  old  days,  but  in  some  of  the  latter  he 
is  not  too  tender  to  Oisin's  obstinate  heathendom.  Oisin,  it 
is  true,  is  "almost  persuaded"  at  times  to  accept  the  faith, 
but  his  paganism  constantly  breaks  forth,  and  he  utters 
daring  blasphemies  and  curses  the  new  order  and  its  annoy- 
ances —  shaven  priests  instead  of  warriors,  bell-ringing  and 
psalm-singing  instead  of  the  music  and  merriment  of  the  past. 
Yet  in  these  poems  there  is  tragic  pathos  and  wild  regret  — 
for  the  Feinn  and  their  valorous  deeds,  for  the  joys  never  now 
to  be  recalled,  for  shrunken  muscles  and  dimmed  eyes  and  tired 
feet  and  shaking  hands,  for  Oisin's  long  silent  harp,  above  all 
for  his  noble  son  Oscar. 

"  Fionn  wept  not  for  his  own  son, 
Nor  did  he  even  weep  for  his  brother; 
But  he  wept  on  seeing  my  son  lie  dead, 
While  all  the  rest  wept  for  Oscar. 

From  that  day  of  the  battle  of  Gabhra 
We  did  not  speak  boldly; 
And  we  passed  not  either  night  or  day 
That  we  did  not  breathe  heavy  sighs."  ^^ 

One  fine  ballad  tells  how  Oisin  fought  hopelessly  against  the 
new  order,   scorning  Christian  rites  and  beliefs,   but  at  last 


THE  HEROIC  MYTHS  183 

craved  forgiveness  of  God,  and  then,  weak  and  weary,  passed 

away. 

"Thus  It  was  that  death  carried  off 
Oisin,  whose  strength  and  vigours  had  been  mighty; 
As  it  will  every  warrior 
Who  shall  come  after  him  upon  the  earth."  *^ 

In  others  the  Feinn  are  shown  to  be  In  hell,  and  St.  Patrick 

rejoices  In  their  fate.    Sometimes  OlsIn  cries  on  Flonn  to  let 

no  devil  In  hell  conquer  him;  sometimes,  weak  old  man  as  he 

Is,  his  cursing  of  St.  Patrick  mingles  with  confession  of  sin 

and  prayers  for  Flonn's  welfare  and  regrets  that  he  cannot  be 

saved. 

"Oh,  how  lamentable  the  news 
Thou  relatest  to  me,  O  cleric; 
That  though  I  am  performing  pious  acts, 
The  Feinn  have  not  gained  heaven."  *^ 

Tradition  maintains  that  OlsIn  was  baptized,  and  a  curious 
story  from  Roscommon  tells  how,  at  St.  Patrick's  prayer  for 
solace  to  the  Feinn  In  hell,  though  they  cannot  be  released, 
Oscar  received  a  flail  and  a  handful  of  sand  to  spread  on  the 
ground.  The  demons  could  not  cross  this  to  torment  the 
Feinn,  for  If  they  attempted  to  do  so,  Oscar  pursued  them 
with  his  flail. ^^ 


m — 13 


CHAPTER   XIV 
THE  HEROIC   MYTHS 

(Continued) 
III.    ARTHUR 

NENNIUS,  writing  in  the  ninth  century,  is  the  first  to 
mention  Arthur.^  This  hero  is  dux  bellorum,  waging  war 
against  the  Saxons  along  with  kings  who  had  twelve  times 
chosen  him  as  chief;  and  twelve  successful  battles  were  fought, 
the  last  at  Mount  Badon,  where  Arthur  alone  killed  over  nine 
hundred  men.  Gildas  (sixth  century),  however,  refers  to  this 
struggle  without  mentioning  Arthur's  name.-  In  one  of  these 
conflicts  Arthur  carried  an  image  of  the  Virgin  on  his  shoulder, 
or  a  cross  made  at  Jerusalem;  and  the  Mirabilia  added  by  a 
later  hand  to  Nennius's  History  state  that  Arthur  and  his 
dog  Caball  (or  Cavall)  hunted  the  Porcus  Troit,  the  dog 
leaving  the  mark  of  its  foot  on  a  stone  near  Builth.  Nennius 
himself  gives  a  simple,  possibly  semi-historical,  account  of 
Arthur;  and  the  Annales  Cambriae  (tenth  century)  say  that 
Arthur  with  his  nephew  and  enemy  Medraut  (Mordred)  fell 
at  Camlan. 

Geoffrey  of  Monmouth  (i  100-54),  who  reports  the  Arthurian 
legend  as  it  was  known  in  South  Wales,  states  that  Uther 
Pendragon,  King  of  Britain,  loved  Igerna,  wife  of  Gorlois, 
Duke  of  Cornwall;  but  for  safety  Gorlois  shut  her  up  in  Tinta- 
gel.  Merlin  now  came  to  Uther's  help  and  by  "medicines" 
gave  him  Gorlois's  form,  and  his  confidant  Ulfin  that  of  the 
Duke's  friend,  while  Merlin  himself  took  another  guise,  so 
that  Uther  thus  gained  access  to  Igerna.  News  of  Gorlois's 
death  arrived,  and  the  messengers  marvelled  to  see  him  at 


THE  HEROIC  MYTHS  185 

Tintagel;  but  Uther  disclosed  himself  and  presently  married 
Igerna,  who  bore  him  Arthur  and  a  daughter  Anne,  the  former 
becoming  king  at  Uther's  death.  His  exploits  against  Saxons 
are  related  and  how  he  carried  his  shield  Pridwen,  with  a 
picture  of  the  Virgin,  and  his  sword  Caliburnus,  which  was 
made  in  the  Isle  of  Avalon.  His  conquests  extended  to  Ireland, 
Iceland,  Gothland,  the  Orkneys,  Norway,  and  Gaul;  his 
coronation  and  his  court  are  described,  and  how  he  resolved 
to  conquer  Rome.  On  the  way  he  slew  a  giant  who  had  ab- 
ducted to  St.  Michael's  Mount  Helena,  niece  of  Duke  Hoel, 
and  had  challenged  Arthur  to  fight  after  his  refusal  to  send 
him  his  beard,  which  was  to  have  the  chief  place  in  a  fur  made 
by  the  giant  from  the  beards  of  other  kings.  This  monster 
was  greater  than  the  giant  Ritho,  whom  Arthur  had  fought 
on  Mount  Aravius.  After  conquering  the  Romans,  Arthur 
heard  how  his  nephew  Mordred  had  usurped  the  throne, 
while  Queen  Guanhumara  (Gwenhwyfar,  Guinevere)  had 
married  him.  Arthur  returned  and  vanquished  Mordred,  but 
was  mortally  wounded  and  carried  to  Avalon,  resigning  the 
crown  to  Constantine,  while  Guanhumara  entered  a  nunnery.^ 
Geoffrey  obtained  some  information  from  a  book  in  the 
British  tongue,  and  some  from  Walter,  Archdeacon  of  Oxford; 
besides  which  he  must  also  have  incorporated  floating  tradi- 
tions, to  which  William  of  Malmesbury  (ob.  1142)  refers  as 
"idle  tales."  The  narrative  has  a  mythical  aspect  and  is 
embellished  after  the  manner  of  the  time.  Arthur's  wide- 
spread conquests  and  his  fights  with  giants  resemble  Fionn's, 
while  his  birth  of  a  father  who  changed  his  form  recalls  that 
of  Mongan,  son  of  Manannan,  who  did  the  same,^  whence 
Uther  may  be  a  Brythonic  god,  and  Arthur  a  semi-divine  hero 
like  Mongan  or  Cuchulainn.  Fionn,  who  in  one  account  was 
a  reincarnation  of  Mongan,  was  betrayed  by  his  wife  Grainne 
and  his  nephew  Diarmaid,^  Arthur  by  his  wife  and  nephew; 
and  as  Mongan  went  to  Elysium,  so  Arthur  went  to  Avalon. 
Geoffrey,  as  well  as  all  existing  native  Welsh  story,  knows 


1 86  CELTIC  MYTHOLOGY 

nothing  of  the  Grail  or  of  the  Round  Table,  which  first  appears 
in  Wace's  Brut^  completed  in  1155. 

Three  questions  now  arise.  Was  there  a  historic  Arthur 
on  whom  myths  of  a  fabulous  personage  were  fathered?  Is 
Geoflfrey  in  part  rationalizing  and  amplifying  in  chivalric 
fashion  an  existing  mythic  story  of  Arthur?  Does  he  omit 
some  existing  traditions  of  Arthur?  These  questions  are 
probably  to  be  answered  in  the  affirmative.  If  the  name 
"Arthur"  is  from  Latin  Jrtorius,^  it  must  have  been  intro- 
duced into  Britain  in  Roman  times;  and  hence  the  mythic 
Arthur  need  not  have  been  so  called  unless  the  whole  myth 
post-dates  the  possibly  historic  sixth  century  Arthur.  If,  more- 
over, the  Latin  derivation  is  correct,  the  supposed  source  in  a 
hypothetical  Celtic  artor  ("ploughman"  or  "one  who  harnesses 
for  the  plough")  falls  to  the  ground.  Had  the  mythic  per- 
sonality a  name  resembling  Artorius?  That  is  possible,  and 
there  was  a  Celtic  god  Artaios,  who  was  equated  with  Mercury 
in  Gaul.  Artaios  may  be  akin  to  Artio,  the  name  of  a  bear- 
goddess,  from  artos  ("bear"),  although  Rhys  connects  it 
with  words  associated  with  ploughing,  e.  g.  Welsh  ar  ("plough- 
land").''  Artaios  would  then  be  equivalent  to  Mercurius  cultor; 
but  the  connexion  of  Artaios  and  Arthur  is  problematical. 

In  any  case  the  story  of  Arthur  is  largely  mythic,  like  that 
of  Cuchulainn  or  of  Fionn.  Nennius  appears  to  know  a  more 
or  less  historic  Arthur;  but  if  there  was  a  mythic  Arthur- 
saga  in  his  time,  why  does  he  not  allude  to  it?  Did  the  "ancient 
traditions"  to  which  he  had  access  not  know  this  mythic 
hero,  or  was  he  not  interested  in  this  aspect  of  his  "magnan- 
imous Arthur?"  Still  more  curious  is  it  that  neither  Gildas 
nor  Bede  refers  to  Arthur.  Geoffrey's  narrative  became 
popular  and  is  the  basis  of  Wace's  Brut,  where  the  Round 
Table  appears  as  made  by  Arthur  to  prevent  quarrels  about 
precedence,  and  it  is  said  that  the  Britons  had  many  tales 
about  it.  Layamon  {c.  1200),  on  the  other  hand,  states  that  it 
was  made  by  a  cunning  workman  and  seated  sixteen  hundred, 


PLATE  XXIII 

Artio 

The  bear-goddess  (see  p.  124)  feeds  a  bear.  The 
inscription  states  that  "Licinia  Sabinilla  (dedicated 
this)  to  the  goddess  Artio,"  and  the  box  pedestal 
has  a  sHt  through  which  to  drop  offerings  of  coins. 
Found  at  Berne  ("Bear-City"),  which  still  preserves 
a  trace  of  the  ancient  Celtic  cult  in  its  famous  den 
of  bears.    Cf.  Plate  11,  10. 


THE  HEROIC  MYTHS  187 

while  in  the  Romances  it  was  made  by  Merlin.  Layamon 
also  declares  that  three  ladies  prophesied  at  Arthur's  birth 
regarding  his  future  greatness  —  the  three  Matres  or  Fees 
of  Celtic  belief,  found  also  in  other  mythologies.  Yet  before 
Geoffrey's  time  Arthur  was  known  in  Brittany,  whither  Britons 
had  fled  from  the  Saxons;  and  there  the  Normans  learned  of 
the  saga,  which  they  carried  to  Italy  before  1 100  a.  d.,  so  that 
Alanus  ab  Insulis  (ob.  c.  1200)  says  that  in  his  time  resentment 
would  have  been  aroused  in  Brittany  by  the  denial  of  Arthur's 
expected  return. 

Among  the  Welsh  romantic  tales  about  Arthur  the  chief 
is  that  of  Kulhwch  and  Olwen,^  where  he  and  his  warriors, 
some  of  whom  have  magic  powers,  aid  Kulhwch  in  different 
quests.  The  story,  which  antedates  Geoffrey,  and  proves  that 
an  Arthurian  legend  existed  before  his  time,  is  based  on  the 
folk-tale  formula  of  a  woman's  hatred  to  her  step-son.  She 
bade  Kulhwch  seek  as  his  wife  Olwen,  daughter  of  Yspaddaden 
Penkawr,  whose  eyelids,  like  Balor's,  must  be  raised  by  his 
servitors,  though  he  is  not  said  to  possess  an  evil  eye.  The 
quest  was  difficult,  and  when  Kulhwch  found  Yspaddaden's 
castle,  he  learned  that  many  suitors  for  Olwen  had  been  slain, 
for  Yspaddaden  would  die  when  she  married  —  a  variant  of 
the  theme  of  the  separable  soul.^  Yspaddaden  set  Kulhwch 
many  tasks,  some  of  them  connected  with  each  other,  and 
in  many  of  these  his  cousin  Arthur  assisted  him.  Among  them 
is  the  capture  of  the  Twrch  Trwyth  (Nennius's  Porcus  Troit), 
on  account  of  the  scissors,  comb,  and  razors  between  its  ears, 
which  Yspaddaden  desired.  This  boar  was  a  knight  trans- 
formed by  God  for  his  sins,  and  to  capture  it  the  aid  of  Mabon, 
son  of  Modron,  must  be  obtained.  First,  however,  his  prison 
must  be  found,  for  he  had  been  stolen  on  the  third  night  after 
his  birth,  and  none  knew  where  he  was.  With  the  help  of 
various  animals  his  place  of  bondage  was  discovered,  and  he 
was  released  by  Arthur,  whose  aid,  with  that  of  others,  Yspad- 
daden had  said  that  Kulhwch  would  never  obtain.    Arthur 


1 88  CELTIC  MYTHOLOGY 

now  collected  an  army  for  the  chase  of  the  boar,  and  this 
pursuit  recalls  many  stories  of  Fionn.  A  great  combat  with  it 
took  place,  and  after  Arthur  had  fought  it  for  nine  days  and 
nights  without  being  able  to  kill  it,  he  sent  to  it  and  its  pigs 
Gwrhyr  Gwalstawt  in  the  form  of  a  bird  to  invite  one  of  them 
to  speak  with  him.  The  invitation  was  refused,  however,  and 
accordingly  Arthur,  with  his  dog  Cavall  and  a  host  of  heroes, 
hunted  the  boar  from  place  to  place.  Alany  were  slain,  but 
at  last  the  boar  was  seized,  and  the  razor  and  scissors  were 
taken.  Nevertheless,  before  the  comb  could  be  obtained,  the 
boar  fled  to  Kernyu  (Cornwall),  where  it  was  captured; 
although  all  that  had  happened  previously  was  merely  a  game 
compared  with  the  taking  of  the  comb.  The  boar  was  now 
chased  into  the  sea,  and  Arthur  went  north  to  obtain  the  blood 
of  the  sorceress  Gorddu  on  the  confines  of  hell,  another  of  the 
things  required  by  Yspaddaden.  Arthur  slew  Gorddu,  and 
Kaw  of  Prydein  (Pictland)  collected  her  blood,  which,  with 
the  other  marvellous  objects,  was  taken  to  Yspaddaden,  who 
was  now  slain. 

In  this  story  Kulhwch  comes  to  Arthur's  court,  which  is 
attended  by  many  warriors  and  supernatural  personages, 
some  of  whose  names  (e.  g.  Conchobar,  Curoi)  recur  in  the 
Romances  or  are  taken  from  other  parts  of  Brythonic  as  well 
as  Irish  traditions.  The  gate  was  shut  while  feasting  went  on, 
save  to  a  king's  son  or  to  the  master  of  an  art  —  an  incident 
recalling  the  approach  of  Lug,  "master  of  many  arts,"  to  the 
abode  of  the  Tuatha  De  Danann  before  the  battle  of  Alag- 
Tured  ^°  —  all  others  being  entertained  outside  with  food, 
music,  and  a  bedfellow.  Among  the  personages  of  this  tale 
who  recur  in  the  Romances  are  Kei,  Bcdwyr  (Bedivere), 
Gwalchmei  (Gawain),  and  Gwenhwyfar;  characters  from  the 
Mahinogion  or  other  tales  are  Manawyddan,  Morvran,  Teyr- 
non,  Taliesin,  and  Creidylad,  daughter  of  Lludd.  Mabon,  son 
of  Modron,  is  the  Maponos  of  British  and  Gaulish  inscrip- 
tions, where  he  is  equated  with  Apollo;  and  his  mother's  name 


PLATE   XXIV 

Boars 

The  boar  appears  as  a  worshipful  animal  on  Gaul- 
ish coins  (see  Plate  III,  i,  3,  6),  and  there  was  a 
Gallic  boar-deity,  Moccus  (p.  124).  It  also  plays  a 
role  in  Irish  saga  (pp.  124-27,  172)  and  in  the  Welsh 
story  of  the  Twrch  Trzvyth  (or  Porcus  Troit)  (pp. 
108,  125,  187-88).  Bronze  figures  found  at,  Houns- 
low,  Middlesex. 


THE   HEROIC  MYTHS  189 

is  equivalent  to  that  of  thie  goddesses  called  Matronae  (akin  to 
the  Matres),  whose  designation  appears  in  that  of  the  Marne. 
Mabo?i  means  "a  youth,"  and  Map07ios  "the  great  {or  divine) 
youth,"  whence  he  must  have  been  a  youthful  god.  His 
immortality  is  suggested  by  the  fact  that  he  had  been  in  prison 
so  long  that  animals  which  had  attained  fabulous  ages  had 
no  knowledge  of  him,  and  only  a  salmon,  older  than  any  of 
them,  knew  where  his  prison  was.  It  carried  Kei  and  Gwrhyr 
thither  on  its  shoulders,  and  when  Arthur  attacked  the  strong- 
hold, it  supported  Kei  and  Bedwyr,  who  made  a  breach  in  the 
wall  and  released  the  captive.  Mabon  rode  a  horse  swifter 
than  the  waves,  and  he  is  called  "the  swift"  in  the  Stanzas 
of  the  Graves.  The  chase  of  the  boar  could  not  take  place 
without  him,  and  he  followed  it  into  the  Bristol  Channel, 
where  he  took  the  razor  from  it.  Reference  is  made  to  Mabon's 
imprisonment  in  a  Triad;  and  he  and  Gweir,  whose  prison  is 
mentioned  in  a  Taliesin  poem  about  Arthur  and  his  men, 
with  Llyr  Lledyeith,  were  the  three  notable  prisoners.  Yet 
there  was  one  still  more  notable  —  Arthur,  who  was  three 
nights  in  prison  in  Caer  Oeth  and  Anoeth,  three  nights  in 
prison  by  Gwenn  Pendragon,  and  three  nights  in  an  enchanted 
prison  under  Llech  Echymeint;  but  Goreu,  his  cousin,  deliv- 
ered him.^^ 

Other  mythical  or  magic-wielding  personages  in  Kulhzvch 
are  the  following.  Gwrhyr,  who  could  speak  with  birds  and 
animals,  transformed  himself  into  a  bird  in  order  to  speak  to 
the  boar;  and  Menw  also  took  that  shape  and  sought  to  remove 
one  of  the  boar's  treasures,  when  it  hurt  him  with  its  venom. 
He  could  also  make  Arthur  and  his  men  invisible,  though 
they  could  see  other  men.  Morvran,  son  of  Tegid  Voel,  seemed 
a  demon,  covered  with  hair  like  a  stag;  none  struck  him  at 
the  battle  of  Camlan  on  account  of  his  ugliness,  just  as  none 
struck  Sandde  Bryd-angel  because  of  his  beauty.  Sgilti  Light- 
Foot  could  march  on  the  ends  of  tree-branches,  and  so  light 
was  he  that  the  grass  never  bent  under  him.    Drem  saw  the 


I90  CELTIC  MYTHOLOGY 

gnat  rise  with  the  sun  from  Kelliwic  in  Cornwall  to  Pen 
Blathaon  in  Scotland.  Under  Gwadyn  Ossol's  feet  the  highest 
mountain  became  a  plain,  and  Sol  could  hold  himself  all  day 
on  one  foot.  Gwadyn  Odyeith  made  as  many  sparks  from  the 
sole  of  his  foot  as  when  white-hot  iron  strikes  a  solid  object; 
he  cleared  the  way  of  all  obstacles  before  Arthur  and  his  men. 
Gwevyl,  when  sad,  let  one  of  his  lips  fall  to  his  stomach, 
while  the  other  made  a  hood  over  his  head;  and  Ychdryt 
Varyvdraws  projected  his  beard  above  the  beams  of  Arthur's 
hall.  Yskyrdaw  and  Yseudydd,  servants  of  Gwenhwyfar,  had 
feet  as  rapid  as  their  thoughts;  and  Klust,  interred  a  hundred 
cubits  underground,  could  hear  the  ant  leave  its  nest  fifty 
miles  away.  Medyr  could  pass  through  the  legs  of  a  wren  in 
the  twinkling  of  an  eye  from  Cornwall  to  Esgeir  Oervel  in 
Ireland;  Gwiawn  could  remove  with  one  stroke  a  speck  from 
the  eye  of  a  midge  without  injuring  it;  01  found  the  track  of 
swine  stolen  seven  years  before  his  birth.  Many  of  these 
invaluable  personages  have  parallels  in  Celtic  as  well  as  other 
folk-tales,  and  are  the  clever  companions  of  the  hero,  who 
execute  tasks  impossible  to  himself. ^^ 

In  the  Dream  of  Rhonahwy  the  hero  had  a  vision  of  the 
knightly  court  of  Arthur,  different  from  that  in  Kulhzvchj 
and  found  himself  transported  thither.  Arthur  had  mighty 
armies,  and  he  and  others  were  of  gigantic  size,  while  his 
mantle  rendered  the  wearer  invisible.  The  story  describes 
Arthur's  game  at  chess  with  Owein,  and  how  Owein's  crows 
were  first  ill-treated  and  then  killed  their  tormentors.  These 
crows  are  frequently  mentioned  in  Welsh  poetry,  and  Arthur 
is  said  to  have  feared  them  and  their  master.  In  this  tale  we 
also  hear  of  Iddawc  (mentioned  in  the  Triads),  whose  horse, 
on  exhaling  its  breath,  blows  far  off  those  whom  he  pursues, 
and  as  it  respires,  it  draws  them  to  him.  He  was  an  interme- 
diary between  Arthur  and  Mordred  at  Camlan,  sent  with 
gracious  words  from  Arthur,  reminding  Alordred  how  he  had 
nurtured  him  and  desiring  to  make  peace;  but  Iddawc  altered 


THE  HEROIC  MYTHS  191 

these  messages  to  threats  and  thus  caused  the  battle.  Arthur's 
court  appears  again  In  The  Lady  of  the  Fountain,  a  Welsh  tale 
which  is  the  equivalent  of  Chretien's  Yvain  (twelfth  century), 
but  here  again  the  conception  of  it  is  far  more  knightly  and 
romantic  than  in  Kulhwch.  The  supernatural  in  this  story, 
whether  Celtic  or  not,  is  found,  e.  g.,  in  the  one-eyed  black 
giant  with  one  foot  and  an  iron  club,  who  guards  a  forest  in 
which  wild  animals  feed.  He  tells  Kynon  to  throw  a  bowlful 
of  water  on  a  slab  by  a  fountain,  when  a  storm  will  burst, 
followed  by  the  music  of  birds,  and  a  black-armoured  knight 
will  appear  and  fight  with  Kynon.  In  these  two  tales  the  follow- 
ing personages  known  to  Welsh  literature  and  the  Romances 
appear  —  Mordred,  Caradawc,  Llyr,  Nudd,  Mabon,  Peredur, 
Llacheu,  Kei,  Gwalchmei,  Owein,  March  son  of  Meirchion 
(Mark,  King  of  Cornwall),  and  Gwchyvar. 

In  the  early  Welsh  poems  there  are  many  references  to 
Arthur  and  his  circle,  as  when,  in  the  Black  Book  of  Caermarthen 
(twelfth  century),  one  poem,  telling  of  Arthur's  expedition  to 
the  north,  mentions  Kei,  whose  sword  was  unerring  In  his 
hand,  Bedwyr  the  Accomplished,  Mabon,  Manawyddan, 
"deep  was  his  counsel,"  and  Llacheu,  Arthur's  son.  Kei 
pierced  nine  witches,  probably  the  nine  witches  of  Gloucester 
mentioned  in  Peredur,  while  Arthur  fought  with  a  witch  and 
clove  the  Paluc  Cat.  A  Triad  declares  that  this  creature  was 
born  of  a  pig  hunted  by  Arthur,  because  it  was  prophesied 
that  the  Isle  would  suffer  from  Its  litter;  and  although  Coll, 
Its  guardian,  threw  the  cat  Into  the  Menal  Strait,  Paluc's 
children  found  It  and  nourished  It  until  It  became  one  of  the 
three  plagues  of  Mon  (Anglesey).  This  demon  cat,  which  should 
be  compared  with  those  fought  by  Cuchulainn,  recurs  in 
Merlin,  but  is  then  located  on  the  continent.  In  this  poem 
Arthur  is  also  said  to  have  distributed  gifts. ^^  Llacheu  figures 
in  another  poem,  which  tells  of  his  death,  as  "marvellous  in 
song,"  and  he  Is  mentioned  there  with  Bran,  Gwyn,  and 
Creldylad.^'*     The  Stanzas  of  the  Graves  refer  to  the  graves  of 


192  CELTIC  AHTHOLOGY 

Gwythur,  March,  and  Arthur,  the  latter's  being  anoeth  hid 
("the  object  of  a  difficult  search");  and  Arthur's  horse  Cavall, 
not  his  dog  Cavall  or  Caball  (as  in  Nennius  and  Kulhzvch, 
where  Bedvvyr  held  it  in  leash),  is  mentioned  in  another  poem. 

Arthur's  expedition  to  Annwfn  in  Kulhzvch,  where  Annwfn 
is  equivalent  to  hell,  lying  to  the  north,  is  paralleled  by  another 
in  a  Taliesin  poem  to  which  reference  has  already  been  made.^^ 
Arthur  and  others  went  in  his  ship  Prydwn  (Prytwenn  in 
Kulhzvch,  where  it  goes  a  long  distance  in  the  twinkling  of  an 
eye  ^^)  over  seas  to  Caer  Sidi  for  the  "spoils  of  Annwfn," 
including  the  magic  cauldron  of  Penn  Annwfn,  and  apparently 
to  release  Gweir,  who  had  been  lured  there  through  the 
messenger  of  Pwyll  and  Pryderi.  While  Annwfn  was  spoiled, 
Gweir  "grievously  sang,  and  thenceforth  till  doom  he  remains 
a  bard";  but  the  expedition  was  fatal  to  many  who  went 
on  it,  for  "thrice  Prydwn's  freight"  voyaged  to  Caer  Sidi, 
but  only  seven  returned. ^^  This  recalls  Cuchulainn's  similar 
journey  to  Scath  for  its  cauldron  and  cows;^^  and  there  is 
also  a  parallel  in  Kulhwch,  where  one  of  the  treasures  desired 
of  the  hero  by  Yspaddaden  is  the  cauldron  of  Diwrnach  the 
Irishman,  who  refused  it  when  Arthur  sent  for  it.  Arthur 
then  sailed  for  Ireland  in  his  ship,  and  Bedwyr  seized  the 
cauldron,  placing  it  on  the  shoulders  of  Arthur's  cauldron- 
bearer,  who  brought  it  away  full  of  money.^^  Another  treasure 
which  Kulhwch  had  to  obtain,  but  of  which  there  is  no  further 
mention,  is  the  basket  of  Gwyddneu,  from  which  the  whole 
world  might  eat  according  to  their  desire,  this  basket  resembling 
Dagda's  cauldron. 2° 

The  Guinevere  incident  in  Geoffrey  is  differently  rendered 
in  Welsh  tradition.  A  Triad  says  that  the  blow  given  her  by 
Gwenhwyfach  (her  sister  In  Kulhwch)  caused  the  battle  of 
Camlan,^'  and  another  Triad  speaks  of  Medraut's  drawing 
her  from  her  royal  seat  at  Kelllwic  and  giving  her  a  blow, 
while  he  Is  also  said  to  have  outraged  her.  Medraut  at  the 
same  time  consumed  all  the  food  and  drink,  but  Arthur  retail- 


THE   HEROIC  MYTHS  193 

ated  by  doing  likewise  at  Medraut's  court  and  leaving  neither 
man  nor  beast  alive.  Medraut  resembled  Hir  Erwn  and  Hir 
Atrym  in  Kulhwch,  who  wherever  they  went  ate  all  provided 
for  them  and  left  the  land  bare;^-  although  another  view  of 
him  is  found  in  a  Triad  which  speaks  of  the  blow  given  him 
by  Arthur  as  "an  evil  blow"  and  of  himself  as  gentle,  kindly, 
and  fair.  Guinevere  seems  to  have  had  an  ill  character  in 
Welsh  tradition,  a  spiteful  couplet  speaking  of  her  as  "bad 
when  young,  worse  later."  -^  Her  name  means  "white  phantom 
or  /^^,"  from  gwen  ("white")  and  hzvyvar,  a  word  cognate 
with  Irish  siabur,  siahhra  ("phantom,"  "fairy"),  the  corre- 
sponding Irish  name  being  Finnabair;-*  and  this  seems  to  point 
to  her  divine  aspect,  just  as  Etain  was  called  be  find  ("white 
woman")  by  Midir.  A  Triad  speaks  of  three  Guineveres, 
all  wives  of  Arthur,  with  different  fathers;  but  Celtic  myth 
loved  triple  forms,  and  the  different  Guineveres,  Llyrs,  Mana- 
wyddans,  etc.,  may  have  been  local  forms  of  the  same  divinity. 
The  departure  of  the  wounded  Arthur  to  Avalon,  though 
mentioned  by  Geoffrey,  does  not  occur  in  native  Welsh  story; 
yet  in  other  sources  which  refer  to  it  there  is  probably  to  be 
found  a  Brythonic  tradition  on  the  subject.  In  the  Vita 
Merlini  attributed  to  Geoffrey,  Avalon  appears  as  Insula 
Pomorum,  or  "Isle  of  Apples,"  where  the  labour  of  cultivating 
the  soil  is  unnecessary,  so  abundant  is  nature.  Grapes  and 
corn  grow  plentifully,  and  nine  sisters,  of  whom  Morgen  is 
chief,  and  who  can  take  the  form  of  birds,  bear  rule  there. 
These  nine  recall  the  nine  maidens  whose  breath  boiled  the 
cauldron  of  Annwfn,  and  the  bird  sisters  perhaps  recur  in 
the  Perceval  story  where  Perceval,  attacked  by  black  birds, 
kills  one  which  turns  to  a  beautiful  woman  whom  the  others 
bear  away  to  Avalon. ^^  In  another  description  the  island 
lacks  no  good  thing  and  is  unvisited  by  enemies.  Peace,  con- 
cord, and  eternal  spring  and  flowers  are  there;  its  people  are 
youthful;  there  is  no  old  age,  disease,  or  grief;  all  is  happiness, 
and  all  things  are  in  common.    A  regia  virgo  rules  it,  more 


194  CELTIC  AiYTHOLOGY 

beautiful  than  the  lovely  maidens  who  serve  her;  she  healed 
Arthur  when  he  was  brought  to  the  court  of  King  Avallo  and 
now  they  live  together.-^  Her  name  is  Morgen,  though  else- 
where Morgen  is  Arthur's  sister,  and  Giraldus  Cambrensis 
calls  her  dea  phantastica;  while  William  of  Malmesbury  speaks 
of  Avalloc  (Avallo)  as  dwelling  at  Avalon  with  his  daughters. 
How  close  is  the  resemblance  of  this  island  to  the  Irish  Elysium 
must  at  once  be  seen.  It  is  mainly  a  land  of  women;  there 
is  no  toil,  but  plenty;  no  sickness  nor  death,  but  immortal 
youth;  and  the  divine  women  there  can  take  the  form  of  birds 
like  Fand,  Liban,  and  others.  They  who  visit  Arthur  find 
the  place  full  of  all  delights,  says  the  Vita  Merlini;  and  if 
Arthur  went  to  Avalon  to  his  sister,  he  resembles  Oisin  who, 
in  one  account,  went  with  his  mother  to  Elysium."  In  the 
Didot  Perceval  Arthur  declares  that  he  will  return,  so  that 
Britons  expect  him  and  have  sometimes  heard  him  hunting 
in  the  forest ;2^  and  Layamon,  who  lived  in  a  district  where 
Brythonic  tradition  must  have  abounded,  says  also  that 
Arthur,  when  wounded,  announced  his  departure  to  the  fair- 
est of  all  maidens,  Argante,  Queen  in  Avalon,  who  would 
heal  him,  but  that  he  would  return.  A  boat  appeared,  in  which 
were  two  women,  who  placed  him  in  it;  and  now  he  dwells 
in  Avalon  with  the  fairest  of  elves,  the  fees  or  goddesses  of  other 
traditions,  while  Britons  await  his  coming.^®  In  Malory  the 
boat  is  full  of  queens,  among  them  Morgen,  Arthur's  sister, 
and  Nimue,  the  Lady  of  the  Lake,  "always  friendly  to  Arthur." 
From  her  had  come  the  sword  Excalibur,  and  her  home  was 
in  a  wonderful  palace  within  a  rock  in  a  lake  —  an  Elysium 
water-world.  All  this  points  to  the  interest  taken  in  a  hero  by 
other-world  beings. 

The  identification  of  Glastonbury  with  Avalon  may  be  due 
to  two  influences.  Glastonbury  and  its  Tor  were  surrounded 
by  marshes,  which  would  cause  it  to  be  considered  as  an 
island;  and  probably,  too,  the  Tor  was  a  divine  abode  analogous 
to  the  sid,  as  the  legend  of  Gwyn  suggests.    Some  local  myth 


THE   HEROIC  MYTHS  195 

would  lead  this  "island"  to  be  regarded  as  Elysium,  while  in 
Arthur's  case  it  came  to  be  called  Avalon  either  because  a 
local  lord  of  Elysium  was  named  Avallo,  or  because  magic 
trees  with  apples  {avail,  "apple-tree"),  like  those  of  the  Irish 
Elysium,  were  supposed  to  grow  there.  Glastonbury  as  a 
sid  Elysium  is  supported  by  another  early  Arthur  tradition; 
and  one  form  of  this  had  been  transferred  to  Italy  by  the  Nor- 
mans, for  Gervase  of  Tilbury  speaks  of  a  groom  finding  him- 
self in  a  castle  on  Etna,  wherein  Arthur  lay  in  bed,  suffering 
from  Mordred's  wounds,  which  broke  out  afresh  each  year,^° 
More  usually,  however,  the  legend  is  that  of  Arthur  and  his 
knights  waiting,  like  Fionn,  in  an  enchanted  sleep  within  a  hill 
for  the  time  when  their  services  will  be  required,  this  story 
being  attached  to  the  Eildon  Hills  and  other  places.^^ 

Welsh  literature  shows  that  at  a  period  contemporary  with 
Geoffrey,  and  in  manuscripts  perhaps  going  back  to  an  ear- 
lier period,  there  was  an  Arthurian  tradition  in  Wales  which 
differed  considerably  from  that  of  the  historian  and  was 
much  fuller.  Arthur  became  a  figure  to  whom  floating  myths 
and  traditions  might  be  attached  and,  like  Fionn,  he  was  a 
slayer  of  witches,  monsters,  and  serpents,  so  that  in  the  Life 
of  St.  Carannog  a  huge  reptile  which  devastated  the  land  was 
hunted  and  destroyed  by  him.  It  is  certain  that,  before  the 
great  French  poems  of  the  Arthurian  cycle  were  written, 
Arthur  was  popular  both  in  Britain  and  in  Brittany.^^ 

The  outburst  of  Arthurian  romance  proper,  that  of  the 
Anglo-Norman  writers,  belongs  to  the  end  of  the  twelfth 
and  the  beginning  of  the  thirteenth  century,  opening 
with  the  Lais  of  Marie  de  France  and  the  Tristan,  Erec, 
Chevalier  de  la  Charette,  and  Conte  del  Graal  of  Chrestien  de 
Troyes.  Whence  was  its  subject-matter  drawn?  Some  hold 
that  beyond  the  scanty  facts  related  of  the  historic  Arthur, 
all  was  taken  from  Armorican  sources,  popularized  by  conteurs 
there.  These  traditions,  according  to  Zimmer,  were  originally 
Welsh,  but  were   brought  to  Armorica  by  immigrants  from 


196  CELTIC  AHTHOLOGY 

Britain;  but  others,  e.  g.  Gaston  Paris  and  A.  Nutt,  find  the 
sources  in  Welsh  tradition  and  native  Celtic  tales,  learned  by 
Normans  after  the  Conquest  of  England  and  passed  thence 
to  France,  either  directly  or  via  Anglo-Norman  poems.  This 
is  supported  by  the  identity  of  episodes  in  the  Romances  with 
those  of  Irish  sagas;  and  Miss  Weston  has  adduced  new 
evidence  which  indicates  that  in  Wauchier's  Perceval,  the 
Elucidation,  and  the  English  Gawain  poems  "we  have  a 
precious  survival  of  the  earliest  collected  form  of  Arthurian 
romantic  tradition." ^^  Wauchier  de  Denain  refers  to  a  certain 
Bleheris,  of  Welsh  birth,  whose  patron  was  the  Count  of 
Poitiers,  and  to  him  he  attributes  the  source  of  his  narrative. 
Bleheris  is  probably  the  Blihis  to  whom  the  Elucidation  refers 
as  source  of  the  Grail  story,  the  Bledhericus  described  by 
Giraldus  as  famosus  ille  fabidator,  and  the  Breri  mentioned 
by  an  Anglo-Norman  poet  named  Thomas,  who  wrote  on  Tris- 
tan about  1170.^^  Arthurian  romance  is  thus  traced  directly  to 
Welsh  sources  through  this  writer,  who  certainly  flourished  not 
later  than  the  beginning  of  the  twelfth  century. 

Arthur  and  Arthur's  court  are  a  centre  toward  which  or  from 
which  stories  converge  or  issue,  whence  other  personages  are 
apt  to  be  regarded  as  more  interesting  than  he  or  to  have 
a  larger  number  of  deeds  attributed  to  them.  Conchobar's 
court,  with  its  heroes,  where  boys  are  brought  up  and  go  forth 
armed  to  their  first  adventures,  suggests  the  primitive  Celtic 
Arthurian  court,  unaltered  by  mediaeval  chivalric  ideas. ^^  In 
the  Cuchulainn  stories  it  is  not  so  much  Conchobar  who  is 
the  chief  figure  as  Cuchulainn,  though  he  is  always  in  the  back- 
ground, and  in  this  Arthur  in  relation  to  Gawain,  Perceval, 
and  others  corresponds  to  him.  Arthur  has  little  to  do  with 
the  Grail,  and  new  important  personages,  not  necessarily  of  the 
early  Celtic  group,  tend  to  be  introduced. 

Gawain  was  Arthur's  nephew  as  Cuchulainn  was  Concho- 
bar's, and  the  earlier  presentation  of  him  is  more  just  than  the 
later.     "He  never  returned   from  a   mission  without  having 


THE   HEROIC   MYTHS  197 

fulfilled  it;  he  was  the  best  of  walkers  and  the  best  of  horse- 
men," says  Kulhwch;  and  according  to  the  Triads^  he  had  a 
golden  tongue  and  was  one  of  the  best  knights  of  Arthur's 
court  for  guests  and  strangers.^^  He  had  a  valuable  steed 
Gringalet  as  Cuchulainn  had  two.  His  sword  Escalibur 
(Latin  Caliburnus),  made  in  Avalon,  was  given  him  by  Arthur, 
its  first  owner;  and  its  Welsh  name,  Caledvwlch,  seems  identical 
with  that  of  Cuchulainn's  caladbolg,  which  was  forged  in  the 
sid.  One  incident  of  Gawain's  legend  is  his  visit  to  an  island 
castle  where  are  many  knights  and  maidens,  who  can  never 
speak  to  each  other,  ruled  by  a  mysterious  lady  allied  with  its 
magician  chief,  the  captor  of  these  knights  and  maidens;  and 
he  who  goes  there  must  remain  always.  Gawain  reached  it, 
guided  by  the  lady,  who  met  him  at  a  fountaln,^^  a  visit  which 
suggests  those  of  Bran,  Connla,  and  Cuchulainn  to  Elysium 
{not  the  region  of  the  dead)  at  the  invitation  of  a  goddess 
connected  with  its  lord.  Gawain  was  given  up  as  dead,  and 
this  legend  persisted,  though  he  returned  to  Arthur.  Prob- 
ably, like  Connla,  he  remained  in  Elysium,  so  that  mediaeval 
tradition  regarded  him  as  living  in  fairy-land.  In  a  second 
incident  the  other-world  momentarily  appears.  Guinevere 
was  abducted  by  Meleagant  (Melwas)  to  a  castle  on  an  island 
whence  no  traveller  returned.  It  was  approached  by  a  sword- 
bridge  and  an  under-water  bridge,  Lancelot  crossing  by  the 
former,  Gawain  choosing  the  latter;  and  although  in  Chres- 
tien's  Le  Chevalier  de  la  Charette  Lancelot  rescues  Guinevere, 
evidence  exists  which  points  to  Gawain  as  the  real  hero  of  the 
adventure.'^  A  sword-bridge  is  otherwise  unknown  to  Celtic 
myth;  a  realm  reached  by  descending  into  water  is  known; 
and  Gawain  himself  came  to  a  palace  under  water,  where 
he  met  with  strange  adventures.'^  Possibly  Gawain,  like  his 
brother  Mordred,  was  lover  of  Guinevere,  a  situation  to 
which  Lancelot  succeeded  when  he  was  later  evolved.  The 
question  also  arises  whether  Gawain  and  Mordred  were 
Arthur's   sons  by  his   sister,   wife  of  King  Loth,   as  Malory 


198  CELTIC  MYTHOLOGY 

asserts  of  Mordred.''°  This  is  not  impossible,  just  as  one 
tradition  made  Cuchulainn  son  of  Conchobar  by  his  sister 
Dechtire.  Gawain,  in  Miss  Weston's  opinion,  is  the  earliest 
hero  of  the  Grail,  his  position  as  such  being  emphasized  by 
Wauchier,  drawing  on  a  version  by  Bleheris.  Perceval  next 
became  the  hero  of  the  Quest,  then  Lancelot,  and  finally 
Galahad,  who  achieved  it. 

Among  those  who  are  known  to  Welsh  literature  and  who 
appear  in  the  Romances  is  Kei.  His  counsel  was  not  to  open 
the  gate  to  Kulhwch,  but  Arthur  said  that  courtesy  must  be 
shown;  and  he  was  one  of  those  whose  help  Kulhwch  demanded 
on  entering.  He  passed  for  offspring  of  Kynyr  Keinvarvawc, 
who  told  his  wife  that  if  her  son  took  after  him,  his  heart 
and  hands  would  always  be  cold,  and  he  would  be  obstinate; 
when  he  carried  a  burden,  none  would  perceive  him  from 
behind  or  before,  and  none  would  support  fire  and  water  as 
long  as  he.  Kei  could  breathe  for  nine  days  and  nine  nights 
under  water  and  could  remain  that  time  without  sleeping, 
while  nothing  could  heal  a  blow  of  his  sword.  When  he  pleased, 
he  could  become  as  high  as  the  highest  tree;  and  when  heavy 
rain  fell,  all  that  he  held  in  his  hand  was  dry  above  and  below 
to  the  distance  of  a  handbreadth,  so  great  was  his  natural  heat, 
which  also  served  as  fuel  to  his  companions  when  they  suffered 
most  from  cold.'^^  These  characteristics  recall  those  of  Celtic 
saints,  who  remained  dry  in  wet  weather  and  could  produce 
light  from  their  hands,  and  also  Cuchulainn's  "distortion" 
and  heat.  Kei  took  an  important  part  with  Bedwyr  in  seek- 
ing Olwen  for  Kulhwch,  Bedwyr  seizing  one  of  the  poisoned 
javelins  thrown  at  them  by  Yspaddaden;  and  he  was  also 
active  in  questing  for  the  treasures  and  reached  the  castle 
of  Gwrnach  Gawr,  where,  as  at  the  stronghold  of  Arthur  and 
the  Tuatha  De  Danann,  none  could  enter  but  the  master  of 
an  art.  Kei  proclaimed  himself  the  best  sword-polisher  in  the 
world  and  gained  entrance  by  saying  that  he  had  a  companion 
whom  the  porter  would  recognize  because  his  spear-head  would 


THE  HEROIC  MYTHS  199 

detach  Itself  from  the  shaft,  draw  blood  from  the  wind,  and 
resume  its  place  on  the  shaft.  This  was  Bedwyr.  Kei  then 
killed  Gwrnach  with  his  own  sword  and  carried  it  off,  since 
the  boar  could  be  killed  by  it  alone. ^^  Kei  and  Bedwyr  dis- 
covered and  aided  in  releasing  Mabon,  and  obtained  the  leash 
made  from  the  beard  of  Dillus  Varvawc  while  he  was  living, 
which  alone  could  hold  the  Little  Dog  of  Greit;  but  Arthur 
sang  a  teasing  verse  about  this  and  irritated  Kei  so  much 
that  peace  between  them  was  restored  with  difficulty.  At  the 
hunt  of  the  boar  Bedwyr  held  Arthur's  dog  Cavall  in  leash.'*^ 

In  Kulhzvch,  as  in  the  Black  Book  of  Caermarthen,  Kei  is  not 
only  a  mighty  warrior,  fighting  against  a  hundred,  but  also  a 
great  drinker,  and  his  valour  as  well  as  his  nobility  and  wisdom 
is  sung  in  later  poetry.  In  a  curious  dialogue  between  Arthur 
and  Guinevere  after  her  abduction  she  told  him  that  Kei 
could  vanquish  a  hundred,  including  Arthur,  while  she  described 
Arthur  as  small  compared  with  Kei  the  tall.  Possibly  Kei 
rather  than  Melwas  was  here  Guinevere's  ravisher.^  In  Geof- 
frey, Kei  Is  Arthur's  sewer  and  received  a  province  from  him, 
while  Bedwyr  Is  butler  and  Duke  of  Normandy,  and  both 
assist  Arthur  In  his  adventures  and  are  mentioned  together.^^ 
Kei  is  also  sewer  In  the  Welsh  romances  which  show  traces 
of  Continental  Influence  —  Peredur,  Olzven  and  Lunet  —  where, 
as  In  the  Anglo-French  romances,  his  boastful,  quarrelsome 
nature  appears.  He  is  always  ready  to  fight,  yet  always  over- 
thrown; and  he  is  to  the  Arthur  saga  what  Conan  and  Bricriu 
are  to  those  of  Fionn  and  Cuchulalnn.  Reference  is  made  in 
Kulhzvch  to  his  death  at  the  hands  of  Gwddawc,  a  deed  re- 
venged by  Arthur,  but  in  the  Welsh  Saint  Graal  Kei  slew 
Arthur's  son,  Llacheu,  and  made  war  on  Arthur. 

Of  Bedwyr  Kulhzvch  says  that  he  never  hesitated  to  take 

part  In  any  mission  on  which  Kei  was  sent;  none  equalled  him 

in  running  save  Drych;  though  he  had  but  one  hand,  three 

combatants  did  not  make  blood  flow  more  quickly  than  he; 

and  his  lance,  which  produced  one  wound  In  entering,  caused 
III — 14 


200  CELTIC  MYTHOLOGY 

nine  in  retiring  —  i.  e.  it  was  studded  with  points  turned  back 
so  that  they  caught  the  flesh  on  being  withdrawn. ^^  In  like 
manner  Cuchulainn's  gai  holga  inflicted  thirty  wounds  when 
pulled  out,  and  reference  is  frequently  made  to  pointed 
spears  of  similar  character.  Bedwyr  is  praised  in  Welsh 
poetry  and  is  the  Sir  Bedevere  of  the  Romances.  In  Geoffrey 
he  reconnoitred  the  hill  where  the  giant  was  supposed  to  live 
and  comforted  the  nurse  of  the  dead  woman  abducted  by  him, 
and  he  is  also  said  to  have  been  slain  by  the  Romans.^^ 

Nennius  relates  that  Vortigem's  attempts  to  build  a  city 
mysteriously  failed  until  his  wise  men  said  that  he  must  obtain 
a  child  without  a  father  and  sprinkle  the  foundation  with  his 
blood  —  an  instance  of  the  well-known  Foundation  Sacrifice. 
This  victim  is  at  last  found  because  a  companion  is  heard 
taunting  him,  as  they  play  at  ball,  that  he  is  "a  boy  without 
a  father."  His  mother  alleged  that  he  had  no  mortal  sire,  and 
the  child  exposed  the  wise  men's  ignorance,  by  telling  what 
would  be  discovered  beneath  the  foundation  —  a  pool,  two 
vases,  with  a  tent,  and  in  it  two  serpents.  One  of  these  expelled 
the  other,  and  all  this  is  explained  as  symbolic  of  the  world, 
Vortigem's  kingdom,  the  Britons,  and  the  Saxon  invaders. 
Giving  his  name  as  Ambrose  (Embreis  gzvledig^  or  "prince") 
and  saying  that  a  Roman  consul  was  his  father,  the  boy 
obtained  the  place  as  a  site  for  a  citadel  of  his  own,  Dinas 
Emrys.^^  Ambrosius  Aurelianus  the  gwledig  was  a  real  person 
who  I  fought  the  Saxons  in  the  fifth  century,'*^  and  to  his  history 
these  myths  have  been  attached.  In  Geoffrey  this  boy  is  Merlin 
or  Ambrosius  Merlin,  whose  mother  said  that  often  a  beauti- 
ful youth  appeared,  kissed  her,  and  vanished,  although  after- 
ward he  sometimes  spoke  with  her  invisibly  and  finally  as  a 
man  slept  with  her,  leaving  her  with  child.  One  of  Vortigem's 
wise  men  explained  him  as  an  incubus  (the  Celtic  dusius). 
Merlin  told  how  two  dragons  were  asleep  in  two  hollow  stones, 
and  when  dug  up,  they  fought,  the  red  dragon  finally  being 
worsted;  and   he  now  uttered   many   tedious  prophecies,  in- 


THE  HEROIC  MYTHS  201 

eluding  that  of  the  coming  of  Ambrosius  as  king.  At  a  later 
time  he  advised  Ambrosius,  who  wished  to  erect  a  memorial 
for  native  heroes,  to  send  for  the  "Giants'  Dance"  to  Ireland, 
whither  African  giants  had  carried  it;  and  by  Merlin's  in- 
genuity the  stones,  which  had  healing  and  magic  virtues,  were 
removed  to  Stonehenge.  Geoffrey  then  recounts  how  Merlin 
transformed  Uther  so  that  he  might  gain  access  to  Igerna.^° 

In  Welsh  literature  Merlin  or  Myrddin  is  connected  with 
the  Britons  of  the  north.  Whether  this  Merlin  is  the  same  as 
Geoffrey's  is  uncertain,  the  former  being  called  Merlin  the 
Wild  or  Caledonius,  but  at  all  events  the  two  are  combined 
in  later  literature.  He  is  a  bard  and  prophet  who  fled  frenzied 
to  the  Caledonian  Forest  after  learning  of  his  sister's  son's 
death;  and  there  he  prophesied  to  his  pig  under  an  apple-tree 
and  had  a  friend  Chwimbian,  the  VIviane  of  romance.  The 
later  chroniclers  and  romantic  accounts  develop  Merlin's 
magic,  e.  g.  his  shape-shifting,  the  removal  of  the  stones  here 
becoming  supernatural;  while  his  birth  is  ascribed  to  demoniac 
power,  and  but  for  his  baptism  he  would  have  been  a  kind  of 
Antichrist.  He  took  the  child  Arthur;  and  when,  as  King, 
Arthur  unwittingly  had  an  amour  with  his  sister,  he  appeared 
as  a  child  and  revealed  the  secret  of  the  king's  birth,  after 
which,  as  an  old  man,  he  disclosed  to  Arthur  how  he  had 
sinned  with  his  sister  in  ignorance.  In  the  Triads  he  and  his 
nine  bards  went  into  the  sea  in  a  glass  house,  or  he  took  with 
him  the  Treasures  of  Britain  to  the  Isle  of  Bardsey.  In  other 
accounts,  however,  his  disappearance  was  caused  by  his  fairy 
mistress's  treachery,  for  she  learned  the  secret  of  his  magic 
power  and  how  to  imprison  a  man  in  a  wall-less  tower;  in  which 
she  shut  him  up,  visiting  him  daily,  while  it  appeared  to 
others  as  a  "smoke  of  mist."  Another  version  describes  him 
as  enclosed  in  a  rocky  grave,  whence  perhaps  the  phrase  of  a 
Welsh  poem  —  "the  man  who  speaks  from  the  grave" — and 
in  yet  another  tradition  he  retires  from  the  world  in  an 
Esplumeor,  which  he  made  himself." 


202  CELTIC  MYTHOLOGY 

How  much  of  all  this  Is  pure  romance,  how  much  is  genuine 
Brythonic  myth,  is  uncertain;  and  MerHn  may  be  an  old  god 
degraded  to  a  mere  magician.  Nennius  and  Geoffrey  in  their 
narratives  suggest  the  well-known  "Expulsion  and  Return" 
formula  —  the  boy  without  a  father,  taunted  when  playing 
at  ball,  comes  into  favour  because  he  shows  why  a  castle  cannot 
be  built.  This  recalls  Fionn's  youth  and  how,  overcoming 
the  beings  who  destroyed  a  dun,  he  thus  regained  his  heritage.^^ 
Merlin's  father  was  doubtless  a  god,  but  as  "the  son  without  a 
father"  he  recalls  the  son  of  a  sinless  couple"  in  the  story  of 
Becuma,  as  well  as  Oengus,  who  was  taunted  with  having  no 
known  father.^'  The  incident  of  his  disappearance  of  his  own 
will  suggests  the  legends  of  heroes  sleeping  in  hills,  just  as  his 
imprisonment  by  his  mistress  recalls  that  of  Kronos  in  the 
British  myth  cited  by  Plutarch  and  the  stories  of  mortals 
bound  by  the  love  of  immortals  to  the  other-world.  While 
Merlin  is  connected  with  Arthur  in  Geoffrey  and  the  Romances, 
he  is  not  one  of  the  throng  around  the  hero  in  Kulhwch. 

The  debatable  ground  of  the  Grail  romances  cannot  be 
discussed  here  in  detail,  especially  as  the  episode  did  not 
enter  into  the  earliest  Perceval  romances,  of  Welsh  origin, 
and  is  lacking  in  the  Welsh  Peredur,  written  in  full  knowledge 
of  the  Perceval-Grail  stories,  and  in  the  English  Syr  Percy- 
velle.  Perceval  probably  succeeded  Gawain  as  the  hero  of  the 
Grail,  to  be  superseded  himself  by  Galahad.  In  Wauchier's 
continuation  of  Chrestien's  Perceval  Gawain  rode  beyond  Ar- 
thur's kingdom  through  a  waste  land  to  a  castle  by  the  sea, 
where  he  saw  a  knight  on  a  bier  with  a  sword  on  his  breast. 
A  procession  of  clergy,  singing  the  Vespers  of  the  Dead,  entered; 
and  then  followed  a  feast  at  which  "a  rich  Grail"  provided 
the  food  and  served  the  guests,  "upheld  by  none."  Later 
Gawain  saw  a  lance  with  a  stream  of  blood  flowing  from  it 
into  a  silver  cup,  and  finally  the  King  of  the  castle  entered 
and  bade  Gawain  fix  the  two  halves  of  a  broken  sword  together. 
Unable  to  do  this,  he  failed  in  the  Quest,  but  having  asked 


THE   HEROIC   MYTHS  203 

about  lance  and  sword,  he  learned  that  the  lance  was  that  by 
which  Christ's  side  was  pierced,  while  the  sword  was  that  of 
the  Dolorous  Stroke  by  which  Logres  and  all  the  country 
was  destroyed.  Here  Gawain  fell  asleep  and  next  morning 
found  himself  on  the  shore,  while  the  castle  had  vanished. 
Nevertheless  the  land  was  now  fertile,  because  he  had  asked 
about  the  lance;  had  he  asked  about  the  Grail,  it  would  have 
been  fully  restored. 

In  Chrestien's  Perceval  there  is  a  procession  with  a  sword, 
a  lance  from  which  a  drop  of  blood  runs  down,  the  Grail,  shining 
so  as  to  put  out  the  candles'  light,  and  finally  a  maiden  with 
a  silver  plate.  The  Grail  is  of  gold  and  precious  stones;  but 
in  other  versions  it  is  the  dish  or  cup  of  the  Last  Supper,  or 
a  vessel  in  which  Joseph  received  the  Saviour's  Blood,  or  a 
chalice,  or  a  reliquary,  or  even  something  of  no  material  sub- 
stance, or  a  magic  stone  (Wolfram's  Parzival).  It  provides 
food  magically,  with  the  taste  which  each  one  would  desire, 
though  sometimes  it  feeds  those  only  who  are  not  in  sin.  It 
gives  perfume  and  light,  heals  the  wounded,  and,  after  the 
successful  quest,  removes  barrenness  from  the  land  and  cures 
its  guardian  or  raises  him  from  death.  It  prevents  those  who 
see  it  from  being  deceived  or  made  to  sin  by  devils,  or  it  gives 
the  seeker  spiritual  insight.  In  Peredur  there  is  no  Grail, 
but  the  hero  sees  a  procession  with  a  spear  from  which  come 
three  drops  of  blood,  and  a  salver  containing  a  head. 

The  Grail  and  its  accompanying  objects  have  a  twofold 
aspect  and  source,  pagan  and  Christian.  The  Grail  and  lance 
are  associated  with  events  of  Christian  history,  but  they  have 
pagan  Celtic  parallels  —  the  divine  cauldron  from  which  none 
goes  unsatisfied  and  which  restores  the  dead,  the  enchanted 
cup  in  tales  of  Fionn  which  heals  or  gives  whatever  taste  is 
desired  to  him  who  drinks  from  it,  and  which  is  sometimes  the 
object  of  a  quest.  The  head  in  Peredur  recalls  Bran's  head, 
the  lance  and  sword  the  spear  which  slew  him  and  the  sword 
by  which  he  was  decapitated,  as  well  as  Lug's  unconquerable 


204  CELTIC  MYTHOLOGY 

spear,  Nuada's  irresistible  sword,  Manannan's  magic  sword, 
Tethra's  talking  sword.  The  Stone  of  Fal  suggests  the  Grail 
as  a  stone,  and  it,  like  Dagda's  cauldron  and  the  spear  and 
swords  of  Lug,  Nuada,  and  Manannan,  belonged  to  the 
Tuatha  De  Danann.  The  Grail,  sword,  and  spear  have  affinity 
with  these  as  much  as  with  the  Christian  symbols.  Yet  no 
theory  quite  accounts  for  the  assimilation  of  the  two  groups, 
and  while  the  Grail  has  magic  properties,  we  should  remember 
that  miraculous  food-producing  and  healing  of  the  sick  were 
works  of  our  Lord,  which  might  easily  be  associated  with 
objects  connected  with  Him,  as  a  result  of  the  belief  in  relics. 
Failing  the  discovery  of  an  early  manuscript  in  which  the 
actual  sources  of  the  Grail  story  may  be  found,  much  is  open 
to  conjecture. 

A  theory  connected  with  the  prevailing  study  of  vegetation 
rituals  sees  in  the  objects  and  their  effects  survivals  of  Celtic 
ritual  resembling  that  of  Adonis  or  Tammuz,  its  aim  being 
the  preservation  of  the  fertility  of  the  land.^  There  is  no 
evidence,  however,  that  at  such  rituals  a  miraculous  food- 
supplying  vessel  had  any  part;  such  vessels  belong  to  the 
domain  of  myth,  and  the  story  of  the  Grail  has  more  the 
appearance  of  being  derived  from  a  myth  which  was  possibly 
based  on  such  rituals.  It  is  in  myth  that  magico-miraculous 
powers  flourish,  not  in  ritual;  and  such  a  myth  could  be 
Christianized.  When,  moreover,  the  theory  makes  the  further 
assumption  that  the  ritual  was  of  the  nature  of  a  "mystery," 
there  is  again  no  evidence  for  this,  for  vegetation  rituals  are 
open  to  all  in  the  fields,  even  where  Christianity  has  been 
adopted.  The  theory,  however,  postulates  a  mystery-cult, 
with  a  plain  and  evident  meaning  for  the  folk  —  associated 
with  powers  of  life  and  generation  —  and  with  other  significa- 
tions for  the  initiate  —  phallic,  philosophic,  spiritual.  The 
story  of  this  pagan  mystery,  which  expressed  three  planes  or 
worlds  —  "the  triple  mysteries  of  a  life-cult" —  was  gradually 
Christianized  by  those  ignorant  of  its  meaning  and  was  finally 


PLATE  XXV 

Horned  God 

The  deity,  wearing  a  torque  and  pressing  a  bag 
from  which  escapes  grain  on  which  a  bull   and  a 
stag  feed,  is  supported  by  figures  of  Apollo  and  Mer- 
cury (cf.  pp.  8-9).     He  may  possibly  be  identical 
with  Cemunnos,  a  deity  of  the  underworld  (Plate 
XVI).     His  attitude  suggests  the  squatting  god  of 
Plates  HI,  3,  VHI,   IX,  and   his   cornucopia  corre- 
sponds to  the  purse  of  the  divinity  of  Plate  IX,  B, 
as  well  as  to  the  cup  held  by  Dispater  (Plate  XIV). 
For  other  gods  of  the  underworld  see  Plates  V,  VII, 
XII,   XIII,   XXVI.      From  a   Galio-Roman   altar 
found  at  Rheims. 


THE   HEROIC  MYTHS  205 

worked  up  by  Robert  de  Borron  (twelfth  century)  in  terms  of 
a  corresponding  traditional  esoteric  Christian  mystery.  The 
procession  with  Grail,  etc.,  was  the  presentation  of  the  mystery, 
its  meaning  being  divulged  according  to  the  degree  of  initiation; 
but  though  the  quester  is  the  initiate,  yet  he  fails  in  his 
Quest.^^  The  present  writer  is  wholly  unable  to  believe  that 
such  mysteries  and  initiations  existed  among  the  barbarous 
Celts  or  that  they  survived  until  the  early  middle  ages,  or 
that  lance  and  cup  have  a  phallic  significance  —  "life  symbols 
of  the  lowest  plane"  —  or  that  there  was  a  traditional  esoteric 
Christianity,  save  in  the  minds  of  cranks  of  all  ages.  Why, 
again,  should  a  mystery  known  only  to  initiates  have  been  the 
subject  of  a  story  .^  Were  initiates  likely  to  reveal  it,^  To 
regard  the  Grail  story  from  a  phallic,  occult  point  of  view  and 
to  interpret  it  by  means  of  a  mystic  jargon  is  to  degrade  it. 
If  the  modern  occultist  possesses  a  divine  secret,  the  world 
does  not  seem  to  be  much  the  better  for  it;  and  such  secrets  are 
apt  to  be  mere  "gas  and  gaiters."  The  truth  is  that  occultism 
renders  squalid  whatever  it  touches,  be  that  Christianity, 
or  Buddhism,  or  the  romantic  stories  of  the  Grail. 

In  spite  of  the  numerous  and  important  characters  who 
enter  into  the  saga,  Arthur  is  the  central  figure,  the  ideal  hero 
of  Brythonic  tribes  in  the  past,  to  whom  leadership  at  home 
and  abroad  might  be  assigned,  and  whose  presence  in  all  battles 
might  be  asserted.  Originating  as  a  champion,  real  or  mythical, 
of  northern  Brythons  in  southern  Scotland,  his  legend  passed 
with  emigrants  to  Wales,  where  it  became  popular.  Like  Fionn 
among  the  Goidels,  so  Arthur  among  the  Brythons  was  located 
in  every  district,  as  numerous  place-names  show;  and  if  Fionn 
was  at  first  a  non-Celtic  hero  adopted  by  Goidels,  so  Arthur 
was  a  Brythonic  hero  adopted  by  Anglo-Normans  as  their 
truest  romantic  figure.^^ 


CHAPTER    XV 
PAGANISM    AND    CHRISTIANITY 

APART  from  the  occasional  Christianizing  of  myths  or 
the  interpolation  of  Christian  passages  in  order  to  make 
the  legends  less  objectionable,  the  Irish  scribes  frequently 
created  new  situations  or  invented  tales  in  which  mythical 
personages  were  brought  into  contact  with  saints  and  mission- 
aries, as  many  examples  have  shown.  In  doing  this  they  not 
only  accepted  the  pagan  stories  or  utilized  their  conceptions, 
but  sometimes  almost  contrasted  Christianity  unfavorably 
with    the    older    religion. 

The  idea  of  the  immortality  or  rebirth  of  the  gods  survived 
with  the  tales  in  which  it  was  embodied  and  was  sometimes 
utilized  for  a  definite  purpose.  The  fable  of  the  coming  of 
Cessair,  Noah's  granddaughter,  to  Ireland  before  the  flood 
was  the  invention  of  a  Christian  writer  and  contradicted 
those  passages  which  said  that  no  one  had  ever  been  in  Ireland 
previous  to  the  deluge.  All  her  company  perished  save  Finn- 
tain,  and  he  was  said  to  have  survived  until  the  sixth  century  of 
our  era.^  The  reason  for  imagining  such  a  long-lived  personage 
is  obvious;  in  no  other  way  could  Cessair's  coming,  or  that 
of  Partholan  and  of  the  other  folk  who  reached  Ireland,  have 
been  known.  Poems  were  ascribed  to  Finntain  in  which  he 
recounted  the  events  seen  in  his  long  life  until  at  last  he 
accepted  the  new  faith. ^ 

Even  at  this  early  period,  however,  there  was  a  story  of 
another  long-lived  personage  with  incidents  derived  from 
pagan  myths.  Long  life,  excessive  as  Finntain's  was,  might 
have  been  suggested  from  Genesis,  but  the  successive  trans- 


PAGANISM  AND  CHRISTIANITY  207 

formations  of  Tuan  MacCalrill  could  have  their  origin  only 
in  myth;  and  the  wonder  is  that  such  a  doctrine  was  accepted 
by  Christian  scribes.  Tuan  was  Partholan's  nephew  and 
through  centuries  was  the  sole  survivor  of  his  race,  which  was 
tragically  swept  away  by  pestilence  in  one  week  for  the  sins  of 
Partholan.  Obtaining  entrance  to  the  fortress  of  a  great  war- 
rior by  the  curious  but  infallible  process  of  "fasting  against" 
him,  St.  Finnen  was  told  by  his  involuntary  host  that  he  was 
Tuan  MacCairill  and  that  he  had  been  a  witness  of  all  events 
in  Ireland  since  the  days  of  Partholan,  When  he  was  old  and 
decrepit,  he  found  on  awaking  one  morning  that  he  had  become 
a  stag,  full  of  youth  and  vigour;  this  was  in  the  time  of  Nemed, 
and  he  described  the  coming  of  the  Nemedians.  He  himself, 
as  a  stag,  had  been  followed  by  innumerable  stags  which 
recognized  him  as  their  chief;  but  again  he  became  old,  and 
now  after  a  night's  sleep  he  awoke  as  a  boar  in  youthful 
strength  and  became  King  of  the  boars.  Similarly  he  became 
a  vulture,  then  a  salmon,  in  which  form  he  was  caught  by 
fishers  and  taken  to  the  house  of  King  Caraill,  whose  wife  ate 
him,  so  that  from  her  he  was  reborn  as  a  child.  While  in  her 
womb  he  heard  the  conversations  which  went  on,  and  knowing 
what  was  happening,  he  was  a  prophet  when  he  grew  up, 
and  in  St.  Patrick's  time  was  baptized,  although  he  had  pro- 
fessed knowledge  of  God  while  yet  paganism  alone  existed  in 
Ireland.^ 

The  mythical  donnees  of  this  story  are  sufficiently  obvious. 
Metamorphosis  and  rebirth  have  frequently  been  found  in 
the  myths  already  cited,  and  these  were  used  by  the  inventors 
of  Tuan  MacCairill,  the  closest  parallels  to  him  being  the  two 
Swineherds  and  Gwion.^ 

The  conversion  of  pagan  heroes  or  euhemerized  divinities 
to  Christianity  is  sometimes  related.  When  Oengus  took 
Elcmar's  sid^^  the  latter's  steward  continued  in  his  office;  and 
his  wife  became  the  mother  of  a  daughter  Ethne,  afterward 
attendant  to  Manannan's  daughter  Curcog,  who  was   born 


2o8  CELTIC  AHTHOLOGY 

at  the  same  time  as  she.  Ethne  was  found  to  be  eating  none 
of  the  divine  pigs  nor  drinking  Goibniu's  beer,  yet  she  re- 
mained in  health;  a  grave  insult  had  been  offered  to  her  by  a 
god,  and  now  she  could  not  eat,  but  an  angel  sent  from  God 
kept  her  alive.  Meanwhile  Oengus  and  Manannan  brought 
cows  from  India,  and  as  their  milk  had  none  of  the  demoniac 
nature  of  the  gods'  immortal  food,  Ethne  drank  it  and  was 
nourished  for  fifteen  hundred  years  until  St.  Patrick  came 
to  Ireland.  One  day  she  went  bathing  with  Curcog  and  her 
companions,  but  she  returned  no  more  to  the  sid  with  them, 
for  through  the  power  of  Christianity  in  the  land  she  had 
laid  aside  with  her  garments  the  charm  of  invisibility,  the 
feth  Fiada.  She  could  now  be  seen  by  men  and  could  no  longer 
perceive  her  divine  companions  or  the  road  to  the  invisible 
sid.  Wandering  in  search  of  them,  she  found  a  monk  seated 
by  a  church  and  to  him  she  narrated  her  story,  whereupon  he 
took  her  to  St.  Patrick,  who  baptized  her.  One  day,  as  she 
sat  by  the  door  of  the  church,  she  heard  the  cries  of  the  in- 
visible j"t^-folk  searching  for  her  and  bewailing  her;  she  fainted 
and  now  fell  into  a  decline,  dying  with  her  head  on  the  Saint's 
breast.^  In  this  tale  the  general  Christian  attitude  to  the  gods 
obtrudes  itself  —  although  the  conception  of  their  immortality 
and  invisibility  is  accepted,  they  are  demons  or  attended  by 
these;  Ethne  had  a  demon  guardian  who  left  her  when  the 
angel  arrived  and  as  a  result  of  her  chastity.  Not  unlike  this 
story  is  that  of  Liban,  daughter  of  Eochaid,  whose  family 
were  drowned  by  the  bursting  of  a  well.  Liban  and  her  lap- 
dog  were  preserved  for  a  year  in  the  water,  but  then  she  was 
changed  into  a  salmon,  save  her  head,  and  her  dog  into  an 
otter.  After  three  hundred  years  she  was  caught  by  her  own 
wish  and  was  baptized  by  St.  Comgall,  dying  thereafter.^ 

In  the  Cuchulainn  saga  Conchobar  was  born  at  the  hour 
of  Christ's  Nativity,  and  Cathbad  sang  beforehand  a  prophecy 
of  the  two  births,  telling  also  how  Conchobar  would  "find  his 
death  in  avenging  the  suffering  God,"  though  the  hero  did  not 


PLATE  XXVI 

SUCELLOS 

The  hammer-god,  also  shown  on  Plate  XIII,  here 
has  five  small  mallets  projecting  from  his  great 
hammer.     Found  at  Vienne,  France. 


PAGANISM    AM;   CMRISTIAMTY  209 

pass  away  until  liC  had  bcliovcd  in  God,  before:  tfif:  faii}i  liarj 
y(;t  reached  J'>iri.  He  is  said  to  have  been  i(ie-  fir',r  [;a^^an  who 
went.  lii'Tjre  to  heaven,  ifiou^^h  rioi.  till  afi.f;r  \i'v,  ^oul  had  jour- 
neyed to  }if:ll,  whence  it  wa-,  carried  with  other  souls  by  Christ  at 
the  I  farrowing  of  J  fades,  he  having  died  just  after  the  Cruci- 
fixion.^ Cucfiulainn  was  a  pagan  to  tfie  last,  but  colncidentaily 
witfi  his  pas'j'ng  thrice  fifty  queens  who  loved  him  saw  hi-, 
soul  floating  in  his  spirit-chariot  over  f'irnain  Macha,  singing  a 
song  of  Christ's  coming,  the  arrival  of  l^atrick  and  the  shaven 
monks,  and  tfie  fJay  of  Doom.''  I.oegaire,  King  of  I'.rin,  refused 
to  accept  the  faith  unle'/.  l*atrir.k  called  up  Cuchulainn  in 
all  his  dignity,  and  next  day  f.oegaire  told  how,  after  a  pierc- 
ing wind  from  hell  preceding  the  hero's  coming,  while  the  air 
was  full  of  birds  —  the  sods  thrown  up  by  Cuchulainn's 
chariot-horses  —  he  had  appeared  as  of  old.  He  was  In  bodily 
form,  more  than  a  phantom,  agreeably  to  the  Celtic  con- 
ception of  immortality;  and  he  was  clad  as  a  warrior,  while 
his  chariot  was  driven  by  I^oeg  and  drawn  by  hi-,  famous 
steeds.  Loegaire  now  desired  that  Cuchulainn  should  return 
and  converse  longer  with  him,  whereupon  he  again  appeared, 
performing  in  rnid-air  his  supernatural  feats  and  telling  of 
his  deeds.  He  besought  I^atrick  to  bring  him  with  his  faithful 
ones  to  f-'aradise  and  advised  Loegaire  to  accept  the  faith. 
The  king  now  asked  Cuchulainn  to  tell  of  lii',  adventures,  and 
he  did  so,  finishing  by  describing  the  pains  of  hell,  still  urging 
Loegaire  to  become  a  Christian,  and  again  begging  the  saint 
to  bring  him  and  his  to  I^aradise.  Then  heaven  was  declared 
for  Cuchulainn,  and  Loegaire  believed."^ 

Some  of  the  Feinn  stories  also  show  this  kindly  attitude 
toward  the  old  paganism,  especially  The  Colloquy  with  the 
Ancients^  which  dates  from  the  thirteenth  century."  When 
Oisin  had  gone  to  the  sxd^  Caoilte  with  eighteen  others  sur- 
vived long  enough  to  meet  St.  Patrick  and  his  clerics.  These 
were  astonished  at  "the  tall  men  with  their  huge  wolf-dogs," 
but  the  saint  sprinkled  holy  water  upon  them  and  dispersed 


210  CELTIC  M\THOLOGY 

into  the  hills  the  legions  of  demons  who  floated  above  them. 
At  Patrick's  desire  Caoilte  showed  him  a  spring  and  told  him 
stories  of  the  Feinn,  the  saint  interjecting  the  words,  "Success 
and  benediction,  Caoilte,  this  is  to  me  a  lightening  of  spirit 
and  mind,"  although  he  feared  that  it  might  be  a  destruction 
of  devotion  and  prayer.  During  the  night,  however,  his 
guardian  angels  bade  him  write  down  all  the  stories  which 
Caoilte  told;  and  next  morning  Caoilte  and  his  friends  were 
baptized.  The  hero  gave  Patrick  a  mass  of  gold  —  Fionn's 
last  gift  to  him  —  as  a  fee  for  the  rite  and  "for  my  soul's  and 
my  commander's  soul's  weal";  and  the  saint  promised  him 
eternal  happiness  and  the  benefit  of  his  prayers. ^^  The  Colloquy 
describes  journeys  taken  by  Patrick  and  his  followers  with 
the  Feinn,  while  Caoilte  tells  stories  of  occurrences  at  various 
spots.  He  also  relates  how  Fionn,  through  his  thumb  of 
knowledge,  understood  the  truth  about  God,  asserted  his 
belief  in  Him,  and  foretold  the  coming  of  Christian  mission- 
aries to  Ireland  and  the  celebration  of  Mass  there,  adding  that 
for  this  God  would  not  suffer  him  to  fall  into  eternal  woe. 
The  Feinn  likewise  understood  of  God's  existence  and  of 
His  rule  over  all  because  of  certain  dire  events  which  befell 
many  revellers  in  one  night,^'  a  parallel  to  this  being  found 
in  The  Children  of  Ler^  where,  through  their  sorrows,  these 
children  are  led  to  believe  in  God  and  in  the  solace  which 
would  come  from  Him;  so  that  in  the  sequel  they  received 
baptism  after  they  had  resumed  human  form.^'* 

Akin  to  these  meetings  of  saint  and  heroes  is  one  which  is 
referred  to  in  some  verses  from  a  fourteenth  century  manu- 
script and  which  concerns  St.  Columba  and  Mongan,  either  the 
pagan  king  of  that  name  or  his  mythic  prototype.  Like  Ma- 
nannan,  whose  son  he  was,  he  was  associated  with  Elysium 
—  "the  Land  with  Living  Heart" — and  from  that  "flock- 
abounding  Land  of  Promise"  he  came  to  converse  with  the 
saint.  Another  poem  gives  Mongan's  greeting  to  Columba  on 
that  occasion,  and  nothing  could  exceed  the  gracious  terms 


PAGANISM  AND   CHRISTIANITY  211 

in  which  he  praises  him;  while  a  third  poem  tells  how  Mongan 
went  to  Heaven  under  the  protection  of  the  saint  — "  his 
head  —  great  the  profit!  under  Columcille's  cowl."  ^^ 

Not  the  least  interesting  aspect  of  the  reverence  with  which 
Christian  scribes  and  editors  regarded  old  mythic  heroes  is 
found  in  the  prophecies  of  Christianity  put  into  their  mouths. 
Some  instances  of  this  have  been  referred  to,  but  a  notable 
example  occurs  in  The  Voyage  of  Bran,  where  the  goddess  who 
visits  Bran  tells  how  "a  great  birth  will  come  in  after  ages  ":  — 

"The  son  of  a  woman  whose  mate  will  not  be  known, 
He  will  seize  the  rule  of  many  thousands. 

'Tis  He  that  made  the  Heavens, 
Happy  he  that  has  a  white  heart. 
He  will  purify  hosts  under  pure  water, 
'Tis  He  that  will  heal  your  sicknesses." 

So,  too,  Manannan  speaks  of  the  Fall  and  prophesies  how 

"A  noble  salvation  will  come 
From  the  King  who  has  created  us, 
A  white  law  will  come  over  the  seas, 
Besides  being  God,  He  will  be  man."  ^^ 

By  such  means,  which  recall  the  noble  teaching  of  St.  Clement 
and  Origen,  did  Christian  Celts  make  gods  and  heroes  do 
homage  to  the  new  faith,  while  yet  they  recounted  the  mythic 
stories  about  them  and  preserved  all  "the  tender  grace  of  a 
day  that  is  dead."  Even  more  remarkable  is  one  version  of  a 
story  telling  how  the  narrative  of  the  Tain  was  recovered. 
It  existed  only  in  fragments  until  Fergus  mac  Roich,  a  hero  of 
the  Cuchulainn  group,  rose  from  his  grave  and  recited  it, 
appearing  not  only  to  the  poets,  but  to  saints  of  Erin  who  had 
met  near  his  tomb,  while  no  less  a  person  than  St.  Ciaran  wrote 
the  story  to  his  dictation.  Among  these  saints  were  Columba, 
Brendan,  and  Caillin,  and  in  company  with  Senchan  and 
other  poets  they  were  fasting  at  the  grave  of  Fergus  so  that 
he  might  appear,  after  which  the  tale  was  written  down  in 
Ciaran's  book  of  cow-hide.^'' 


212  CELTIC  MYTHOLOGY 

The  same  charitable  point  of  view  is  seen  in  the  fact  that 
the  gods  and  heroes  still  have  their  own  mystic  world  in  the 
sid  and  are  seldom  placed  in  hell.  Yet  there  are  exceptions, 
for  Cuchulainn  came  from  hell,  as  we  saw,  but  St.  Patrick 
transferred  him  to  heaven.  Even  in  hell,  however,  he  had 
still  been  the  triumphant  hero,  and  when  the  demons  carried 
off  his  soul  to  "the  red  charcoal,"  he  played  his  sword  and 
his  gai  holga  on  them,  as  Oscar  did  his  flail,^^  so  that  the  devils 
suffered,  even  while  they  crushed  him  into  the  fire.^^  Caoilte 
craved  that  his  sister  might  be  brought  out  of  hell,  and  Patrick 
said  that  if  this  were  good  in  God's  sight,  she  and  also  his 
father,  mother,  and  Fionn  himself  would  be  released. -°  In 
other  poems,  however,  the  Feinn  are  and  remain  in  hell,  as 
has  already  been  seen. 

Thus,  while  the  Church  set  its  face  against  the  old  cults, 
so  that  only  slight  traces  of  these  remain,  or  gave  a  Christian 
aspect  to  popular  customs  by  connecting  them  with  saints' 
days  or  sacred  places,  it  was  on  the  whole  rather  proud  than 
otherwise  of  the  heroes  of  the  past  and  preserved  their  memory, 
together  with  much  of  the  gracious  aspect  of  the  ancient  gods. 
Exceptions  to  this  exist  and  were  bound  to  exist,  e.  g.  in  many 
Irish  and  Scots  Ossianic  ballads;  and  there  was,  too,  a  tendency 
to  confuse  Elysium  with  hell,  more  especially  in  Welsh  legend, 
this  being  inevitable  where  myths  of  Elysium  were  still  con- 
nected with  a  local  cult.  Gwyn  was  lord  of  Annwfn,  which  was 
located  on  Glastonbury  Tor,  or  king  of  fairy-land,  and  here 
St.  Collen  was  invited  to  meet  him.  Seeing  a  wonderful  castle 
and  a  host  of  beautiful  folk,  he  regarded  them  as  devils,  their 
splendid  robes  as  flames  of  fire,  their  food  as  withered  leaves; 
and  when  he  threw  holy  water  over  them,  everything  van- 
ished.^* Probably  a  cult  of  Gwyn  existed  on  the  hill.  Gwyn 
was  also  thought  to  be  a  hunter  of  wicked  souls,  yet  it  is  also 
said  of  him  that  God  placed  in  him  the  force  of  the  demons 
of  Annwfn  (here  the  equivalent  of  hell)  in  order  to  hinder 
them  from  destroying  the  people  of  this  world. ^^ 


PAGANISM  AND   CHRISTIANITY  213 

We  owe  much  to  the  Christian  scribes  and  poets  of  early 
mediaeval  Ireland  and  Wales,  who  wrote  down  or  re-edited 
the  mythic  tales,  romantic  legends,  and  poems  of  the  pagan 
period,  thus  preserving  them  to  us.  These  had  still  existed 
among  the  folk  or  were  current  in  the  literary  class,  and 
that  they  were  saved  from  destruction  is  probably  due  to  the 
fact  that  Ireland  and  Wales  were  never  Romanized.  Causes 
were  at  work  in  Gaul  which  killed  the  myths  and  tales  so  long 
transmitted  in  oral  forms;  and  since  they  were  never  written 
down,  they  perished.  Elsewhere  these  causes  did  not  exist, 
or  a  type  of  Christianity  flourished  which  was  not  altogether 
hostile  to  the  stories  of  olden  time,  as  when  Irish  paganism 
itself  was  described  symbolically  as  desiring  the  dawn  of  a  new 
day.  The  birds  of  Elysium  were  "the  bird-flock  of  the  Land 
of  Promise,"  and  in  one  story  were  brought  into  contact  with 
St.  Patrick,  welcoming  him,  churning  the  water  into  milky 
whiteness,  and  calling,  "O  help  of  the  Gaels,  come,  come, 
come,  and  come  hither!  "^^ 

That  is  an  exquisite  fancy,  more  moving  even  than  that 
which  told  how 

"The  lonely  mountains  o'er 
And  the  resounding  shore, 
A  voice  of  weeping  heard  and  loud  lament" 

—  the  mournful  cry,  "Great  Pan  is  dead,"  at  the  moment  of 
Christ's  Nativity.  Celtic  paganism,  Goidelic  and  Brythonic, 
surely  bestowed  on  Christianity  much  of  its  old  glamour,  for 
nowhere  is  the  history  of  the  Church  more  romantic  than  in 
those  regions  where  Ninian  and  Columba  and  Kentigern  and 
Patrick  lived  and  laboured  long  ago. 


SLAVIC  MYTHOLOGY 


BY 
JAN  MACHAL,  Ph.D. 

PROFESSOR  OF  SLAVIC  LITERATURES,  BOHEMIAN  UNIVERSITY,  PRAGUE 
WITH  A  CHAPTER  ON  BALTIC  MYTHOLOGY  BY  THE  EDITOR 


EDITOR'S   PREFACE 

FOR  obvious  reasons  it  has  not  been  possible  to  have  the  col- 
laboration of  the  author  of  this  Slavic  Mythology  in  seeing 
his  work  through  the  press.  This  duty  has,  therefore,  devolved 
upon  me,  though  the  task  has  been  lightened  by  constant  refer- 
ence to  his  Bdjeslovi  slovanske  (Prague,  1907),  on  which  his 
present  study  is  largely  based.  Since  the  author  supplied  no 
Notes,  and  as  they  seemed  to  me  desirable,  I  have  added  them. 
All  responsibility  for  them  is  mine,  not  his;  but  I  trust  that 
they  will  not  be  displeasing  to  him. 

Professor  Machal  wrote,  at  my  request,  a  chapter  on  the 
mythology  of  the  Prussians,  Letts,  and  Lithuanians.  As  this 
has  not  been  received,  I  have  endeavoured  to  supply  it;  but 
since  I  hope  to  prepare  a  study  of  the  religion  of  these  peoples 
to  be  published  on  another  occasion,  I  have  restricted  myself 
rigidly  to  their  mythology,  discussing  neither  their  religion,  their 
ethnology,  nor  their  history.  That  Professor  Machal  did  not  so 
limit  his  scope  is  to  me  a  source  of  pleasure;  for  in  those  systems 
of  religion  where  practically  nothing  is  as  yet  accessible  in  Eng- 
lish it  seems  preferable  to  treat  the  theme  without  meticulous 
adherence  to  a  theoretical  norm. 

The  excellent  translation  of  Professor  Machal's  study  has 
been  made  by  his  colleague.  Professor  F.  Krupicka,  to  whom  he 
desires  to  express  his  gratitude  for  his  assistance  in  this  regard. 

LOUIS  H.   GRAY. 

November  6,  1916. 


PRONUNCIATION 

THE  vowels  are  pronounced  generally  as  in  Italian.  In  the 
Lithuanian  diphthong  ai  the  first  element  predominates 
almost  to  the  suppression  of  the  second.  Russian  e  has  the 
sound  of  the  English  word  yea  or  of  ye  in  yes;  Lithuanian  e  (often 
written  ie)  is  pronounced  like  yea,  but  with  a  slight  <2-sound 
added  (yd"),  and  u  is  equivalent  to  wo"  (very  like  English  whoa'^) ; 
Lettish  ee  is  simply  e  (English  a  in  fate) ;  Polish  ie  is  like  Eng- 
lish ye  in  yes;  Russian  iy  is  practically  the  i  in  English  pique. 
The  Slavic  i  and  il  have  only  an  etymological  value,  and  are  not 
pronounced;  in  the  present  study  they  are  omitted  when  final, 
so  that  Perunii,  e.g.,  is  here  written  Perun. 

/  is  like  y  (for  convenience  the  Russian  letters  often  tran- 
scribed/(X,  etc.,  are  here  given  as  ya,  etc.);  of  the  liquids  and 
nasals,  r  and  /  between  consonants  have  their  vowel-value,  as 
in  English  betterment,  apple-tree  {bettrment,  appltree) ;  r  is  pro- 
nounced in  Polish  like  the  z  in  English  azure,  and  in  Bohemian 
like  r  followed  by  the  same  sound  of  z;  Polish  ^  is  a  guttural 
(more  accurately,  velar)  /;  n  has  the  palatal  value  of  ni  in 
English  onion.  The  sibilant?  is  like  sh  in  English  shoe  (in 
Lithuanian  this  sound  is  often  written  sz),  and  z  (Lithuanian 
z)  is  like  z  in  azure. 

Of  the  consonants  ?  (often  written  cz  in  Lithuanian)  has  the 
value  of  ch  in  church;  ch  that  of  the  German  or  Scottish  ch  in 
ach,  loch;  c  that  of  the  German  z  (is). 

The  consonant-groups  in  the  present  study  are  pronounced 
as  follows :  cz  like  ch  in  church;  dz  and  dj  like  j  in  judge;  rz  like  2 
in  azure;  sj  like  sh  in  shoe;  and  szcz  like  shch  in  fresh-chosen. 


INTRODUCTION 

SINCE  those  records  of  ancient  Slavic  life  which  have  sur- 
vived are  very  superficial,  it  is  not  surprising  that  only 
scanty  and  fragmentary  knowledge  of  Slavonic  religions  has 
come  down  to  us.  The  native  chroniclers,  imbued  with  Chris- 
tian civilization,  dealt  shallowly  and,  it  would  seem,  reluctantly 
with  the  life  of  their  pagan  ancestors;  and  while  writers  of 
other  nationalities  have  left  much  more  thorough  accounts  of 
the  religions  of  the  Slavic  peoples,  yet,  being  ignorant  of  the 
Slavic  dialects  and  insufficiently  familiar  with  the  lives  and 
customs  of  the  Slavs,  their  documents  are  either  very  confused 
or  betray  a  one-sided  Classical  or  Christian  point  of  view. 
It  must  further  be  borne  in  mind  that  the  extant  data  treat  of 
the  period  immediately  preceding  the  introduction  of  Chris- 
tianity, when  the  Slavic  nations,  inhabiting  a  wide-spread 
region  and  already  possessed  of  some  degree  of  civilization, 
had  made  considerable  progress  from  their  primeval  culture. 
Hence  no  inferences  may  be  drawn  from  the  mythology  of  one 
Slavic  nation  as  to  the  religion  of  the  Slavs  as  a  whole. 

The  most  ample  evidence,  relatively  speaking,  is  found 
regarding  the  religion  of  the  Elbe  Slavs,  who  adopted  Christi- 
anity as  late  as  the  twelfth  century.  Thietmar,  Bishop  of 
Merseburg,  gives  the  earliest  accounts  of  their  religion  (976- 
1018),^  and  the  description  of  the  rites  of  the  Slavic  tribe  of 
the  Lutici  by  Adam  of  Bremen,  in  his  Gesta  Hammaburgensis 
ecclesiae  pontificum  (eleventh  century),^  is  founded  chiefly  on 
Thietmar's  report.  Helmold,  a  German  chronicler  of  the 
twelfth  century,  who  had  seen  the  countries  of  the  Elbe  Slavs 


222  INTRODUCTION 

with  his  own  eyes,  transmitted  important  evidence  of  their 
religion  in  his  Chronica  Slavorum;^  and  in  like  manner  the 
Danish  historian  Saxo  Grammaticus,  writing  in  the  same  cen- 
tury, spoke  of  the  idolatry  of  the  Elbe  Slavs,"*  his  statements 
being  confirmed  by  the  Danish  Knytlingasaga}  Further  de- 
tailed accounts  of  Slavic  paganism  may  be  found  in  the  lives 
of  St.  Otto,  a  bishop  of  Bamberg,  who  was  renowned  as  a 
missionary  among  the  Pomeranian  Slavs.® 

The  most  important  evidence  for  Russian  religion  is  con- 
tained in  the  Chronicle  of  Nestor  (iioo);^  further  fragments  of 
pagan  customs  are  preserved  in  the  old  Russian  epic  Slovo  o 
pluku  Igoreve  ("Song  of  Igor's  Band"),  which  dates  from  the 
twelfth  century;^  and  to  these  two  main  sources  for  a  knowledge 
of  the  pagan  period  in  Russia  may  be  added  some  old  religious 
writings  directed  against  the  heathenism  which  still  lingered 
among  the  folk. 

Mention  of  the  religions  of  the  eastern  and  southern  Slavs 
is  made  in  the  works  of  the  Greek  historian  Procopius  of 
Caesarea  (sixth  century)  ^  and  of  the  Arabian  travellers  al- 
Mas'  udl  ^°  and  Ibrahim  ibn  Vasifshah  ^^  (tenth  and  twelfth 
centuries  respectively),  while  allusions  to  ancient  Slavic  pagan 
rites  and  idolatry  are  found  in  the  mediaeval  encyclopaedias 
which  were  translated  from  Greek  and  Byzantine  originals. 

The  main  source  for  the  religion  of  the  Czechs  is  the  Chronicle 
of  Cosmas  (ob.  1125),^-  supplemented  by  the  Homiliary  of  the 
Bishop  of  Prague  (twelfth  century.)  ^^  The  chronicler  Dtugosz 
(fifteenth  century)  records  fairly  detailed  accounts  of  the  old 
Polish  religion,  although  they  are  not  very  reliable  ;^^  and  allu- 
sions of  a  more  specific  character  occur  in  some  fragments  of 
old  Polish  literature,  particularly  in  Polish-Latin  homilies. ^^ 

These  poor  and  scanty  accounts  of  the  mythology  of  the 
ancient  Slavs  are  supplemented  by  old  traditions  which  still 
live  among  the  people,  these  legends  being  very  rich  and  con- 
taining ample  survivals  of  the  past,  since  even  after  their 
conversion  to   Christianity  the  common  folk  clung  to  their 


INTRODUCTION  223 

pagan  beliefs.  Thus  ancient  national  tales,  preserved  to  this 
very  day,  contain  distinct  traces  of  the  early  faith,  and  these 
traditions,  verified  by  old  evidence,  are  of  such  prime  impor- 
tance that  they  will  form  the  basis  of  our  description  of  Slavic 
mythology. 


SLAVIC  MYTHOLOGY 

PART   I 
THE   GENII 


SLAVIC    MYTHOLOGY 

CHAPTER   I 
BELIEF   IN   SOUL  AND   GENII 

IN  Slavic  belief  the  soul  is  a  being  quite  distinct  from  the 
body,  which  it  is  free  to  leave  even  during  life,  so  that  there 
are  many  stories  of  human  souls  coming  forth  from  the  bodies 
of  sleeping  persons  and  either  dwelling  in  trees  or,  in  the  shape 
of  white  birds,  fluttering  about  in  the  world  and  finally  return- 
ing to  their  normal  habitations.  It  is  inadvisable  to  go  to 
bed  thirsty,  lest  the  soul,  wearied  by  its  search  for  water,  may 
weaken  the  body.  If  a  man  faints,  his  soul  leaves  his  body 
and  uneasily  flutters  about  the  world;  but  when  it  returns, 
consciousness  is  likewise  restored.  Some  individuals  have  lain 
like  dead  for  three  days,  during  which  time  their  souls  dwelt  in 
the  other  world  and  beheld  all  that  might  be  seen  either  in 
heaven  or  in  paradise.  A  soul  which  leaves  the  body  when 
asleep  and  flies  about  in  the  world  is  called  Vjedogonja  or 
Zduh,  Zduhacz  ("Spirit")  by  the  Serbs;  and  not  only  the 
souls  of  sleeping  persons,  but  even  those  of  fowls  and  domestic 
animals,  such  as  cats,  dogs,  oxen,  etc.,  may  be  transformed  into 
Zduhaczs.  These  genii,  regardless  of  nationality,  sex,  or  age, 
assemble  on  mountain-tops,  where  they  battle  either  singly  or 
in  troops,  the  victors  bringing  to  their  countrymen  a  rich  har- 
vest and  success  in  breeding  cattle;  but  if  a  man's  soul  perishes 
in  this  fight,  he  will  never  awake.  In  Montenegro  a  distinction 
is  drawn  between  Zduhaczs  of  land  and  sea,  the  former  causing 
drought,  and  the  latter  rain,  so  that  the  weather  depends  on 
which  of  these  two  wins.    A  sudden  storm  points  to  a  battle 


228  SLAVIC  MYTHOLOGY 

among  such  Zduhaczs;  but  in  all  other  respects  these  genii  are 
considered  good  and  sensible  and  stand  in  high  repute. 

The  Montenegrins  personify  the  soul  as  Sjen  or  Sjenovik 
("Shadow"),  this  being  a  genius  which  has  charge  of  houses, 
lakes,  mountains,  and  forests,  and  which  may  be  a  man  or  a 
domestic  animal,  a  cat,  a  dog,  or  —  more  especially  —  a  snake. 

It  is  a  general  Slavic  belief  that  souls  may  pass  into  a  Mora, 
a  living  being,  either  man  or  woman,  whose  soul  goes  out  of 
the  body  at  night-time,  leaving  it  as  if  dead.  Sometimes  two 
souls  are  believed  to  be  in  such  a  body,  one  of  which  leaves  it 
when  asleep;  and  a  man  may  be  a  Mora  from  his  birth,  in 
which  case  he  has  bushy,  black  eyebrows,  growing  together 
above  his  nose.  The  Mora,  assuming  various  shapes,  ap- 
proaches the  dwellings  of  men  at  night  and  tries  to  suffocate 
them;  she  is  either  a  piece  of  straw,  or  a  white  shadow,  or  a 
leather  bag,  or  a  white  mouse,  a  cat,  a  snake,  a  white  horse, 
etc.  First  she  sends  refreshing  slumber  to  men  and  then,  when 
they  are  asleep,  she  frightens  them  with  terrible  dreams, 
chokes  them,  and  sucks  their  blood.  For  the  most  part  she 
torments  children,  though  she  also  throws  herself  upon  ani- 
mals, especially  horses  and  cows,  and  even  injures  and  withers 
trees,  so  that  various  means  are  employed  to  get  rid  of  her. 

In  Russia  the  Moras,  or  Kikimoras,  play  the  role  of  house- 
hold gods  (penates).  They  are  tiny  female  beings  who  live 
behind  the  oven;  and  at  night  they  make  various  noises, 
whining  and  whistling,  and  troubling  sleeping  people.  They  are 
very  fond  of  spinning,  hopping  from  place  to  place  all  the  time; 
and  they  tangle  and  tear  the  tow  of  women  who  rise  from  the 
spinning-wheel  without  making  the  sign  of  the  cross.  They 
are  invisible  and  do  not  grow  old;  but  manifestation  of  their 
presence  always  portends  trouble. 

Among  the  Slavs,  as  well  as  among  many  other  peoples, 
there  is  a  wide-spread  belief  that  certain  persons  can  assume 
the  form  of  wolves  during  their  lifetime,  like  the  English 
werewolf,  the  French  loupgarou,  the  Lithuanian  vilkakis,  etc., 


BELIEF   IN   SOUL  AND   GENII  229 

such  a  man  being  termed  Vlkodlak  (Vukodlak,  Vrkolak, 
Volkun,  etc.).  A  child  born  feet  foremost  or  with  teeth  will 
become  a  Vlkodlak;  and  a  man  may  undergo  transformation 
into  such  a  being  by  magic  power,  this  happening  most  fre- 
quently to  bride  and  bridegroom  as  they  go  to  the  church  to 
be  married.  A  person  turned  into  a  Vlkodlak  will  run  about 
the  village  in  the  shape  of  a  wolf  and  will  approach  human 
dwellings,  casting  plaintive  glances  at  people,  but  without 
harming  anyone;  and  he  will  retain  his  wolf-like  shape  until 
the  same  person  who  has  enchanted  him  destroys  the  charm. 

Among  the  Jugo-Slavs  ("Southern  Slavs")  there  still  lingers 
an  old  tradition,  dating  from  the  thirteenth  century,  of  a 
Vukodlak  who  followed  the  clouds  and  devoured  the  sun  or 
the  moon,  thus  causing  an  eclipse;  and  accordingly,  on  such 
an  occasion,  drums  were  beaten,  bells  rung,  and  guns  fired,  all 
this  being  supposed  to  drive  the  demon  away. 

The  Vlkodlak  can  transform  himself  not  only  into  a  wolf,  but 
also  into  hens  and  such  animals  as  horses,  cows,  dogs,  and  cats. 
At  night  he  attacks  cattle,  sucks  the  milk  of  cows,  mares,  and 
sheep,  strangles  horses,  and  causes  cattle  to  die  of  plague; 
he  may  even  assail  human  beings,  frightening,  beating,  and 
strangling  them.  The  Slavs  in  Istria  believe  that  every  single 
family  has  its  own  Vukodlak,  who  tries  to  harm  the  house; 
but  the  house  also  possesses  a  good  genius,  the  Krsnik  (Kresnik, 
Karsnik),  who  protects  it  from  the  Vukodlak  and  battles  with 
him.  In  popular  tradition  the  Vlkodlak  is  frequently  identified 
with  the  Vampire,  and  similar  stories  are  told  concerning 
both  beings. 

The  Slavs  universally  believe  that  the  soul  can  leave  the 
body  in  the  form  of  a  bird  (a  dove,  a  duck,  a  nightingale,  a 
swallow,  a  cuckoo,  an  eagle,  a  raven)  or  else  as  a  butterfly,  a 
fly,  a  snake,  a  white  mouse,  a  hare,  a  small  flame,  etc.  For  this 
reason,  whenever  a  man  dies,  the  window  or  the  door  is  left 
open,  thus  freely  enabling  the  soul  to  come  and  go  so  long  as 
the  corpse  remains  in  the  house.    The  soul  flutters  about  the 


230  SLAVIC  MYTHOLOGY 

cottage  in  the  shape  of  a  fly,  sitting  down,  from  time  to  time, 
upon  the  stove  and  witnessing  the  lamentations  of  the  mourners 
as  well  as  the  preparations  for  the  funeral;  and  in  the  court- 
yard it  hovers  around  as  a  bird. 

That  the  soul  of  the  dead  might  suffer  neither  hunger  nor 
thirst,  various  kinds  of  food  or  drink  were  put  into  the  coffin  or 
the  grave;  and  besides  other  presents,  small  coins  were  given 
to  the  deceased,  thus  enabling  him  to  buy  a  place  of  his  own 
beyond  the  tomb.  At  the  banquet  celebrated  after  the  burial 
a  part  of  the  meal  was  put  aside  for  the  soul,  which,  though 
invisible,  was  partaking  of  the  feast;  and  during  the  first  night 
after  the  funeral  the  soul  returned  to  the  house  to  see  it  once 
more  and  to  refresh  itself.  Accordingly  a  jug  of  water  was 
placed  under  the  icons,  and  on  the  following  day  it  was  in- 
spected to  ascertain  whether  the  soul  had  drunk  or  not,  this 
practice  sometimes  being  continued  for  six  weeks.  In  Bulgaria 
the  head  of  the  grave  is  sprinkled  with  wine  the  day  after  the 
funeral,  in  order  that  the  soul  may  not  feel  thirsty;  while  in 
Russia  and  in  other  Slav  countries  wheat  is  strewn  or  food  is 
put  upon  the  place  of  burial. 

For  forty  days  the  soul  dwells  on  earth,  seeking  for  places 
which  the  deceased  used  to  frequent  when  alive;  it  enters  his 
own  house  or  those  of  other  persons,  causing  all  sorts  of  trouble 
to  those  who  had  been  enemies  to  the  departed,  and  it  is  either 
invisible  or  else  appears  in  the  form  of  an  animal.  Bulgarian 
tradition  speaks  of  the  soul  as  approaching  the  body  on  the 
fortieth  day,  trying  to  enter  it  and  to  live  anew;  but  being 
frightened  by  the  disfigured  and  decaying  corpse,  it  flies  away 
into  the  world  beyond  the  grave.  The  belief  that  the  soul 
remains  for  forty  days  in  the  places  where  it  had  lived  and 
worked  is  universal  among  the  Slavs.  According  to  Russian 
tradition  it  then  flies  upward  to  the  sun,  or  the  moon,  or  the 
stars,  or  else  it  wanders  away  into  forests,  or  waters,  or  moun- 
tains, or  clouds,  or  seas,  etc. 

The  souls  of  the  deceased  often  appear  as  jack-o'-lanterns 

III — 15 


BELIEF   IN   SOUL  AND  GENII  231 

flickering  about  in  churchyards  or  morasses,  leading  people 
astray  in  swamps  and  ponds,  or  strangling  and  stupefying 
them.  Woe  to  him  who  ridicules  them  or  whistles  at  them, 
for  they  will  beat  him  to  death;  but  if  a  wanderer  courteously 
asks  their  guidance,  they  will  show  him  the  road  that  he  must 
follow. 

In  Slavic  belief  the  souls  of  the  departed  maintained,  on  the 
whole,  friendly  relations  with  the  living,  the  only  exceptions 
being  the  ghosts  of  those  who  had  been  either  sorcerers  or 
grievous  sinners  in  their  lifetime,  or  who  had  committed'suicide 
or  murder,  or  who  had  been  denied  Christian  burial.  The  souls 
of  sorcerers,  whether  male  or  female,  are  loath  to  part  with 
their  bodies  and  cannot  leave  in  the  usual  way  by  door  or 
window,  but  wish  to  have  a  board  in  the  roof  removed  for 
them.  After  death  their  souls  take  the  shapes  of  unclean 
animals  and  enter  houses  at  night,  worrying  the  inmates 
and  seeking  to  hurt  them,  the  same  enmity  toward  the  liv- 
ing being  shown  by  the  souls  of  those  who  have  committed 
suicide,  since  they  endeavour  to  revenge  themselves  for  not 
having  been  properly  buried.  In  ancient  times  the  bodies  of 
suicides,  as  well  as  criminals,  drowned  persons,  and  all  who 
had  met  with  a  violent  death  or  were  considered  magicians, 
were  refused  interment  in  the  churchyard,  their  corpses  being 
buried  without  Christian  rites  in  forests  or  swamps,  or  even 
thrown  into  pits.  The  lower  classes  believed  that  the  souls  of 
such  persons  caused  bad  harvests,  droughts,  diseases,  etc.;  and, 
therefore,  a  stake  was  run  through  their  hearts,  or  their  heads 
were  cut  off,  despite  the  efforts  of  the  ecclesiastical  and  secular 
authorities  to  put  an  end  to  this  sort  of  superstition. 

The  belief  in  Vampires  (deceased  people  who  in  their  lifetime 
had  been  sorcerers,  bad  characters,  or  murderers,  and  whose 
bodies  are  now  occupied  by  an  unclean  spirit),  which  may  be 
traced  back  as  far  as  the  eleventh  century,  is  still  widely  cur- 
rent among  the  Slav  population.  The  name,  which  also  appears 

as  Upir,  Upior,  etc.,  is  probably  derived  from  the  Turkish  uher 
III — 16 


232  SLAVIC  IVRTHOLOGY 

("enchantress");  but  other  designations  are  likewise  used,  such 
as  Wieszczy  and  Martwiec  (Polish),  Vedomec  (Slovenian), 
Kruvnik  (Bulgarian),  Oboroten  (Russian),  etc. 

The  Southern  Slavs  believe  that  any  person  upon  whom  an 
unclean  shadow  falls,  or  over  whom  a  dog  or  a  cat  jumps,  may 
become  a  Vampire;  and  the  corpse  of  such  a  being  does  not 
decay  when  buried,  but  retains  the  colour  of  life.  A  Vampire 
may  suck  the  flesh  of  his  own  breast  or  gnaw  his  own  body, 
and  he  encroaches  even  upon  the  vitality  of  his  nearest  rela- 
tions, causing  them  to  waste  away  and  finally  die. 

At  night  the  Vampires  leave  their  graves  and  rock  to  and 
fro  upon  wayside  crosses,  wailing  all  the  time.  They  assume 
every  sort  of  shape  and  suck  the  blood  of  people,  whom  thus 
they  gradually  destroy,  or,  if  they  have  not  time  to  do  that 
(especially  as  their  power  ends  at  cock-crow),  they  attack  do- 
mestic animals.  Various  means  of  riddance,  however,  are 
known,  and  there  is  ample  evidence  of  exhuming  the  corpse  of 
a  man  supposed  to  be  a  Vampire,  of  driving  a  stake  of  ash- 
wood  (or  wood  of  the  hawthorn  or  maple)  through  it,  and  of 
burning  it,  these  acts  being  believed  to  put  a  definite  end  to 
his  evil  doings. 


CHAPTER    II 

WORSHIP    OF   THE    DEAD,   ESPECIALLY 

ANCESTORS 

AT  first  the  pagan  Slavs  burned  their  dead,  but  later  they 
practised  burial  as  well  as  cremation.^  With  singing  and 
wailing  the  corpse  was  carried  to  the  funeral-place,  where  a  pyre 
had  been  erected;  and  this,  with  the  dead  body  laid  upon  it, 
was  set  on  fire  by  the  relatives.  The  pyre  and  the  body  having 
been  consumed  by  the  flames,  the  ashes,  together  with  the 
charred  remnants  of  bones,  weapons,  and  jewels,  and  with  all 
sorts  of  gifts,  were  collected  in  an  urn  and  placed  in  a  cairn. 
If  the  chieftain  of  a  tribe  had  died,  one  of  his  wives  was  burned 
along  with  him,  as  is  amply  attested  by  the  traditions  of  the 
Elbe  Slavs,  the  Poles,  the  Southern  Slavs,  and  the  Russians; 
and  in  similar  fashion  animals  that  had  been  especial  favourites 
of  his  were  killed  and  cremated.  At  the  grave  there  were 
obsequies  of  a  martial  character  {tryzna),  followed  by  a  noisy 
banquet  {strava). 

A  vivid  description  of  a  Russian  chieftain's  funeral  was 
given  by  the  Arabian  traveller  Ahmad  ibn  Fadlan  (922).^ 
When  a  nobleman  died,  for  ten  days  his  body  was  laid  pro- 
visionally in  a  grave,  where  he  was  left  until  his  shroud  was 
prepared  for  him.  His  property  was  divided  into  three  parts; 
one  third  was  given  to  the  family,  another  served  to  defray  the 
funeral  expenses,  and  the  remainder  was  spent  on  the  intoxi- 
cating drinks  which  were  served  at  the  funeral  banquet.  On 
the  day  appointed  for  the  final  obsequies  a  boat  was  taken  out 
of  the  water,  and  round  it  were  placed  pieces  of  wood  shaped 
to  the  form  of  human  beings.   Then  the  corpse  was  removed 


234  SLAVIC  M\THOLOGY 

from  its  provisional  grave  and,  being  clad  with  a  costly  gar- 
ment, was  seated  in  the  boat  on  a  richly  ornamented  arm- 
chair, around  which  were  arranged  the  weapons  of  the  deceased, 
together  with  intoxicating  beverages;  while  not  only  bread  and 
fruit,  but  also  flesh  of  killed  animals,  such  as  dogs,  horses,  cows, 
cocks,  and  hens,  were  put  into  the  boat.  That  one  of  his  wives 
who  had  voluntarily  agreed  to  be  burned  together  with  her  dead 
husband  was  led  to  the  boat  by  an  old  woman  called  "the 
Angel  of  Death,"  and  was  stabbed  at  the  side  of  the  corpse, 
whereupon  the  wood  piled  up  under  and  around  the  boat  was 
set  on  fire.  After  the  boat  with  the  dead  bodies  and  all  the 
other  articles  placed  upon  it  had  been  consumed,  the  ashes  were 
collected  and  scattered  over  the  cairn;  and  a  banquet,  lasting 
for  days  and  nights  without  interruption,  closed  the  ceremony. 

We  know  from  the  evidence  of  the  Arabian  writer  Mas'udi ' 
that  this  cremation  of  the  dead  existed  among  most  of  the 
Slavs  and  that  they  worshipped  the  departed.  Mules,  weapons, 
and  precious  articles  were  burned,  and  when  the  husband  died, 
his  wife  was  cremated  with  him,  a  man  who  died  a  bachelor 
being  married  after  his  decease.^  Wives  are  said  to  have 
chosen  death  in  the  flames  because  they  wished  to  enter 
paradise  together  with  their  husbands;  and  there  are  also 
reports  that  slaves,  or  even  many  of  a  prince's  retinue,  were 
killed  and  put  into  the  grave  with  their  masters. 

In  Bohemia  a  certain  sort  of  games  (scenae)  were  performed 
according  to  pagan  rites  at  places  where  roads  met  or  crossed 
each  other;  and  "profane  jokes"  {ioci  profani)  were  practised 
at  the  grave  by  masked  men;  while  the  Polish  chronicler  Vin- 
centius  Kadlubek  (thirteenth  century)  tells  ^  how  virgins 
tore  out  their  hair,  matrons  lacerated  their  faces,  and  old 
women  rent  their  garments. 

The  idolatry  of  the  ancient  Prussians,  Lithuanians,  and 
Russians  in  1551  is  described  by  Jan  Menecius,  who  tells  ^ 
of  the  funeral  ceremonies,  the  banquet  in  the  house  of  the 
deceased,  the  lamentations  at  the  grave,  and  the  gifts  devoted 


WORSHIP  OF  THE   DEAD  235 

to  the  departed.  Those  on  horseback  galloped  beside  the  hearse, 
and  brandishing  their  swords,  drove  the  evil  spirits  away, 
while  bread  and  ale  were  placed  in  the  grave  to  protect  the 
souls  against  hunger  and  thirst. 

The  memory  of  deceased  members  of  the  family  was  held 
in  pious  honour  everywhere.  During  the  first  year  after  the 
death  of  one  of  the  household  funeral  ceremonies  were  held, 
and  are  still  held,  in  numerous  places.  These  usually  take  place 
on  the  third,  seventh,  twentieth,  and  fortieth  day  after  the 
funeral,  and  also  half  a  year  and  a  year  later,  the  final  fete 
being  the  most  touching  of  all.  The  members  of  the  family 
and  the  nearest  relations  assemble  at  the  grave  of  the  departed 
with  many  sorts  of  food  and  drink,  a  part  of  the  viands  being 
put  aside  for  the  deceased  at  the  banquet  which  follows.  On 
the  other  hand,  the  White  Russians  for  the  most  part  celebrated 
their  funeral  feasts  at  home,  a  portion  of  the  food  being  sent 
to  the  grave  afterward. 

Besides  these  family  feasts  most  Slavs  celebrate  general 
festivals  in  commemoration  of  the  dead,  these  recurring  on 
fixed  days  thrice  or  even  four  times  a  year.  The  festivals  held 
in  White  Russia  stand  forth  most  prominently  by  reason  of 
their  ancient  character,  and  they  are  called  dziady,  or  some- 
times also  chautury,  the  latter  name  derived  from  Latin 
chartularium  ("charter,  record").  Dziadys  are  deceased  an- 
cestors, male  and  female,  and  their  memory  is  usually  com- 
memorated four  times  annually. 

The  autumnal  dziadys  are  held  on  St.  Demetrius's  Eve 
(October  26,  according  to  the  Russian  calendar),  ^  when  work  in 
the  fields  has  been  finished,  and  a  rich  harvest  fills  the  barns. 
On  the  Friday  preceding  the  dziady,  the  courtyard  is  swept 
clean,  the  agricultural  implements  are  stowed  away,  and 
everything  is  put  in  order.  Some  cattle,  set  aside  for  that 
purpose  in  the  spring  by  the  master  of  the  house,  are  killed; 
and  the  women  prepare  food  (from  nine  to  fifteen  dishes)  and 
scrub  tables  and  benches,  devoting  special  care  to  the  corner 


236  SLAVIC  M\THOLOGY 

behind  the  oven,  the  most  Important  place  in  the  room. 
Abundance  of  good  food  and  a  neat  and  tidy  house  are  sup- 
posed to  attract  the  souls  and  to  fill  them  with  pleasure.  In 
the  evening  the  members  of  the  household  bathe,  and  having 
put  a  pail  of  fresh  water,  with  a  wisp  of  straw  in  it,  for  the 
Dziadys  to  wash  in,  the  family,  together  with  the  relations 
who  have  been  invited,  assemble  in  the  room  arrayed  in  their 
Sunday  best.  The  head  of  the  house  lights  a  candle  in  a  corner 
of  the  room,  and  having  said  a  prayer,  extinguishes  it;  after 
which,  with  all  the  people  sitting  round  a  table  covered  with 
dishes  and  drinks  of  various  kinds,  he  solemnly  invites  the 
"holy  Dziadys"  to  partake  of  their  meal.  He  then  pours 
water  into  a  cup  so  as  to  make  a  few  drops  flow  over  the  brim 
and  stain  the  table-cloth,  and  empties  it,  whereupon  all  the 
others  drink,  likewise  allowing  a  small  portion  to  fall.  Before 
beginning  to  eat,  the  householder  sets  aside  a  portion  of  every 
dish  on  a  separate  plate,  which  he  then  puts  in  the  window; 
and  whenever  a  dish  is  finished,  the  spoons  are  laid  upon 
the  table  for  the  forefathers  to  help  themselves.  While  eating, 
silence  is  observed,  except  for  abrupt  whispers,  in  which  the 
ancestors  and  their  deeds  are  the  chief  theme;  and  any  slight 
motion  of  the  air,  any  rustling  of  dry  leaves,  or  even  the 
appearance  of  an  emperor-moth  is  taken  to  be  the  coming  of 
the  forefathers.  The  ample  supper  finished,  the  Dziadys  are 
bidden  adieu  and  requested  to  fly  back  to  heaven,  while  the 
food  appointed  for  them  Is  left  on  the  table  and  distributed 
among  the  poor  on  the  following  day. 

The  winter  dziadys  are  celebrated  In  a  similar  way  on  the 
Saturday  preceding  Quinquageslma  Sunday. 

The  spring  dziadys,  or  radunica  (derived  from  Greek  poSoivia, 
"meadow  of  roses"),  fall  on  Tuesday  in  Easter-Week.  The 
housewife  prepares  two  sorts  of  dishes,  one  for  the  members  of 
the  household,  the  other  for  the  forefathers;  and  after  a  short 
prayer  before  the  icons,  the  members  of  the  family  betake 
themselves  with  food  and  drink  to  the  churchyard,  where  the 


PLATE  XXVII 

Zadusnica 

The  zadusnica,  celebrated  in  Bulgaria  in  honour 
of  deceased  ancestors,  corresponds  closely  to  the 
Russian  dziadys  (pp.  235-37)  and  also  finds  an  ana- 
logue in  the  commemoration  of  the  dead  among  the 
ancient  Letts  and  Lithuanians  in  October.  After  a 
picture  by  Professor  Morvicka. 


WORSHIP  OF  THE   DEAD  237 

women  chant  dirges  of  a  peculiar  sort,  while  the  men  roll  eggs 
blessed*  by  the  priest.  A  cloth  is  then  spread  over  the  family 
grave,  and  the  provisions  and  a  bottle  of  vodka  are  placed 
upon  it,  after  which  the  family  sit  in  a  circle  round  it  and  invite 
the  forefathers  to  join  their  banquet.  All  present  eat  and 
drink,  talking  about  the  dead;  and  what  is  left  of  the  food  is 
distributed  among  the  beggars,  a  great  number  of  whom 
assemble  at  the  cemetery,  or  else  it  is  left  on  the  graves.  Egg- 
shells and  even  whole  eggs  are  buried  in  the  grave,  and  lamen- 
tations and  funeral  dirges  conclude  the  ceremony. 

The  summer  dziadys  are  kept  in  a  similar  way  on  the  Satur- 
day preceding  Whitsunday,  when  the  graves  are  swept  clean 
with  sprigs  of  birch,  this  being  called  "giving  the  Dziadys  a 
steam-bath." 

All  who  desire  to  avoid  the  anger  of  the  forefathers  and 
thus  guard  their  family  against  misfortune  should  keep  the 
dziadys,  the  only  persons  exempt  being  those  families  that 
have  removed  to  a  new  dwelling  erected  in  another  place. 
As  soon,  however,  as  a  member  of  the  household  dies  in  the 
new  home,  the  dziadys  ought  to  be  celebrated;  and  if  the  family 
has  moved  into  a  house  where  the  dziadys  were  previously 
observed,  it  is  necessary  for  them  to  inquire  as  to  the  way  in 
which  this  was  done,  since  any  deviation  from  the  usual 
ceremony,  as  in  the  serving  of  the  dishes,  may  rouse  the  anger 
of  the  forefathers  and  bring  misfortune. 

Other  designations  of  the  funeral  ceremonies  (pominki) 
are  found  in  Russia:  the  autumnal  rites  are  termed  roditelskiye 
suboty  ("parental  Saturdays"),  the  vernal  are  navskiy  velik- 
den  or  naviy  den  ("great  death-day,"  or  "death-day"),  and 
the  summer  semik  ("Whitsunday"). 

In  Bulgaria  the  common  obsequies  (zadusnica)  are  celebrated 
five  or  four  times  annually,  but  mostly  thrice,  i.  e.  on  the 
Saturday  before  St.  Demetrius,  before  the  Great  Fast  (Lent), 
and  before  Whitsunday,  the  commemorations  being  similar 
to  the  spring  dziadys  in  Russia.     Besides  these,  there  are  rites 


238  SLAVIC  M^T^HOLOGY 

in  some  parts  of  Bulgaria  which  remind  us  of  the  autumnal 
dziadys  in  White  Russia,  and  these  are  called  stopanova  gozba 
("the  householder's  festival").  In  the  opinion  of  the  common 
people  a  Stopan  (Stopanin)  is  a  deceased  ancestor  who  guards 
the  house  of  the  family,  and  the  feast  in  his  honour  is  cele- 
brated in  the  following  way.  The  whole  house,  especially 
the  common  living-room,  is  carefully  scrubbed  and  cleaned, 
after  which  the  members  of  the  family  put  on  their  Sunday 
clothes  and  adorn  themselves  with  flowers,  while  candles  are 
lit  on  either  side  of  the  hearth  (where  a  fire  is  kept  burning) 
and  near  the  door.  The  oldest  woman  brings  a  black  hen, 
kills  it,  and  lets  the  blood  flow  into  the  hollow  on  the  hearth, 
which  is  then  smeared  over  with  clay;  and  next  she  roasts 
the  flesh  of  the  hen,  while  two  others  bake  cakes  of  flour 
prepared  especially  for  this  purpose.  When  everything  has 
thus  been  made  ready,  the  head  of  the  family,  taking  a  cup  of 
wine,  pours  half  of  it  into  the  fire;  and  then,  putting  a  cake 
upon  his  head,  he  cuts  it  into  four  parts,  springing  about  the 
room  all  the  time.  Butter  and  honey  being  spread  upon  one 
quarter,  the  left  leg  of  the  hen  and  three  small  cups  of  wine  are 
added,  whereupon  all  these  presents  for  the  Stopan  are  placed 
in  three  corners  of  the  loft.  Then  all  sit  down  to  table,  but 
before  beginning  to  eat,  the  old  woman,  with  all  others  present, 
pours  some  wine  into  the  fire.  The  next  rite  is  prayer  to  the 
Stopan  to  bestow  health  and  long  life  upon  the  family,  to  pro- 
tect and  guard  the  flocks,  and  to  take  care  of  the  meadows,  the 
vineyards,  etc.;  after  dinner  songs  are  sung,  and  the  benefit 
that  the  Stopan  bestows  upon  the  household  is  extolled.  Two 
weeks  later  the  crone  looks  after  the  dishes  destined  for  the 
Stopan,  and  great  is  the  joy  of  the  family  if  any  of  the  viands 
on  them  have  been  eaten. 

Among  the  other  Slavs  only  traces  of  these  ancient  ceremonies 
have  been  preserved,  for  the  Roman  Catholic  Church  made 
every  endeavour  to  suppress  them,  whereas  they  were  per- 
mitted by  the  Orthodox  Church. 


WORSHIP  OF  THE  DEAD  239 

That  the  worship  of  ancestors  was  widely  spread  among  the 
Slavs  may  be  considered  an  established  fact:  the  Slavs  looked 
upon  their  forefathers  as  guardian  penates  who  were  deeply 
concerned  about  the  happiness  both  of  the  family  and  of  their 
dwelling;  and  the  origin  of  many  mythological  beings,  especially 
the  penates^  may  be  traced  back  to  this  kind  of  ancestor-cult. 


CHAPTER    III 
THE    HOUSEHOLD    GODS 

THE  Slavic  belief  in  household  gods  is  confirmed  by  old 
reports.  Helmold  alludes  ^  to  a  wide-spread  cult  of 
penates  among  the  Elbe  Slavs;  and  Cosmas  relates  ^  how 
Czech,  one  of  the  forefathers,  brought  the  "penates"  on  his 
shoulders  to  the  new  country  and,  resting  on  the  mountain  of 
the  Rzip,  said  to  his  companions:  "Rise,  good  friends,  and 
make  an  offering  to  your  penates,  for  it  is  their  help  that  has 
brought  you  to  this  new  country  destined  for  you  by  Fate 
ages  ago." 

Various  names  were  given  to  the  household  gods  by  the 
Slavs,  but  the  terms  ded,  dedek,  deduska,  i.  e.  an  ancestor 
(literally  "grandfather")  raised  to  the  rank  of  a  family  genius, 
clearly  shows  that  the  penates  had  their  origin  in  ancestor- 
worship.^" 

Deduska  Domovoy  ("Grandfather  House-Lord")  is  well 
known  in  Russia,  and  many  vivid  reports  are  circulated  con- 
cerning him.  He  is  commonly  represented  as  an  old  man  with 
a  grizzled,  bushy  head  of  hair  and  with  flashing  eyes;  his 
whole  body  is  covered  with  a  thick,  soft  coat  of  hair;  and  his 
garments  consist  of  a  long  cloak  girded  about  his  waist  with  a 
light  red  belt,  or  sometimes  only  of  a  red  shirt.  He  often 
appears  in  the  shape  of  a  well-known  person  belonging  to  the 
people  in  whose  home  he  lives,  most  usually  in  that  of  the 
master  of  the  house  or  that  of  an  older  member  of  the  family, 
whether  dead  or  alive.  The  belief  that  he  resembles  some  one 
of  the  ancestors  in  the  colour  of  his  hair,  his  dress,  his  attitude, 
his  voice,  and  even  his  manner  shows  that  he  is  closely  con- 


THE  HOUSEHOLD  GODS  241 

nected  with  the  family,  so  that  the  same  cow,  for  example, 
that  was  the  favourite  of  this  ancestor  is  the  favourite  of  the 
Domovoy  as  well. 

The  household  spirit  has  the  further  power  of  appearing  in 
the  shape  of  animals,  such  as  cats,  dogs,  bears,  etc.,  the  colour 
of  such  an  animal's  coat  being  identical  with  that  of  the  hair 
of  the  master  of  the  house.  While  as  a  rule  the  Domovoy  is 
invisible,  there  are  many  means  of  getting  a  glimpse  of  him; 
but  there  is  a  general  reluctance  to  use  such  devices  since  he  is 
very  ready  to  punish  inquisitive  individuals  who  disturb  him. 

Normally  the  Domovoy  lives  in  the  room  behind  the  oven, 
or  under  it,  or  near  the  threshold  of  the  house,  or  in  the  closet, 
or  in  the  courtyard,  or  in  the  stable,  or  in  the  bath-room,  or 
elsewhere.  When  in  the  bath-room,  he  creeps  under  the 
benches,  where  he  lies  hissing,  rumbling,  and  giggling;  and  if 
a  bath  is  being  prepared,  a  pail  of  water  is  made  ready  for 
him  to  wash  in. 

Every  house  has  its  own  Domovoy,  and  only  one,  who  is, 
as  a  rule,  single,  though  sometimes  he  is  believed  to  have  a 
wife  and  children.  These  penates  often  fight  with  one  another, 
each  of  them  defending  the  welfare  of  its  particular  home;  and 
the  victors  settle  in  the  house  of  the  vanquished,  where  they 
immediately  begin  to  trouble  the  inmates,  making  all  sorts 
of  noises,  injuring  the  cattle,  turning  the  master  out  of  his 
bed,  choking  people  while  asleep,  etc.  The  people  in  the  house 
thus  invaded  seek  to  expel  the  intruder,  beating  the  hedges 
and  the  walls  of  the  house  with  rods  and  crying,  "Go  home, 
we  don't  want  other  people's  penates  here!"  In  the  evening, 
on  the  other  hand,  the  members  of  the  household  don  their 
finest  array  and  walk  out  in  the  courtyard,  seeking  to  lure  the 
Domovoy  to  their  home  by  saying,  "Deduska  Domovoy, 
come  and  live  with  us  and  tend  our  flocks." 

The  Domovoy  not  only  cares  for  the  herds,  but  also  protects 
the  whole  home  and  its  inmates  against  misfortune,  and  pro- 
motes their  well-being;  he  sees  that  everything  is  in  proper 


242  SLAVIC  MYTHOLOGY 

order;  he  supervises  the  servants  and  labourers,  does  all  sorts 
of  work  for  the  master  at  night,  and  is  especially  fond  of 
spinning.  The  householder  who  knows  how  to  gratify  him  will 
meet  with  success  in  everything;  he  will  buy  cheap  and  sell  dear, 
will  have  the  best  crops  of  all,  and  will  never  be  visited  by 
hail.  In  order  to  increase  the  property  of  such  a  master  the 
Domovoy  will  not  even  shrink  from  robbing  other  people. 

The  household  spirit  shares  in  the  joy  and  sorrow  of  his 
home.  If  an  inmate  dies,  he  will  show  his  grief  by  howling  at 
night,  while  bitter  sobbing  and  wailing  forebode  the  death  of 
the  master  of  the  house,  and  sorrowful  moanings  are  heard  if 
plague,  war,  conflagration,  or  some  other  calamity  is  threaten- 
ing. He  is  also  able  to  foretell  the  future. 

It  is  only  rarely  that  the  Domovoy  shows  the  evil  and 
demoniac  side  of  his  character;  and  then  the  fault  usually  lies 
with  the  people  themselves,  who  fail  to  render  him  due  honour, 
or  who  give  offence  by  cursing  or  by  bad  language,  whereupon 
the  infuriated  spirit  takes  vengeance  on  the  cattle,  or  quits 
the  house  and  leaves  the  family  unprotected.  After  his  de- 
parture the  inmates  fall  ill  and  die,  and  even  the  cattle  perish. 

People  court  the  favour  and  satisfaction  of  the  Domovoy 
by  putting  aside  for  him  what  is  left  of  their  evening  meal, 
and  the  White  Russians  have  a  peculiar  way  of  rendering  hom- 
age to  him  by  placing  white  linen  in  the  passage  leading  to 
the  chamber  which  is  his  favourite  haunt,  this  being  meant  as 
an  invitation  to  join  in  the  meals  of  the  family. 

There  are  different  modes  of  reconciling  an  angry  Domovoy. 
A  cock,  for  example,  will  be  killed  at  midnight,  and  all  the 
nooks  and  corners  of  the  common  room  or  the  courtyard  will 
be  washed  with  its  blood.  Sometimes  a  slice  of  bread  strewn 
with  salt  will  be  wrapped  in  a  piece  of  white  cloth  and  put  in 
the  hall  or  in  the  courtyard,  while  the  members  of  the  house- 
hold bow  toward  all  four  quarters,  uttering  certain  aphoristic 
sentences  and  entreating  the  Domovoy  to  cease  his  anger 
and  be  reconciled. 


THE   HOUSEHOLD   GODS  243 

No  house  can  live  without  the  help  of  its  genius,  and  this 
accounts  for  various  customs  connected  with  the  building  of  a 
new  residence  and  with  removing  to  another  home,  etc.  There 
is  a  belief  that  happiness  and  well-being  cannot  establish 
themselves  in  a  newly  built  home  until  after  the  death  of  the 
head  of  the  family,  who  then  becomes  its  guardian;  and  when 
a  house  has  been  erected,  the  master  of  it,  and  even  those 
who  first  enter  it,  are  threatened  with  premature  death. 
Similar  customs  connected  with  the  erection  of  new  buildings 
are  practised  by  all  Slavs. 

Rites  of  a  peculiar  character  are  observed  in  case  of  removal 
into  a  newly  built  house.  Before  entering,  the  members  of 
the  family  throw  a  cat,  a  cock,  a  hen,  etc.,  inside,  or  on  the 
threshold  of  the  new  home  they  cut  off  the  head  of  a  hen  and 
bury  it  below  the  first  corner  of  the  room;  while  the  first  slice 
of  bread  cut  during  the  first  dinner  is  buried  in  the  right- 
hand  corner  of  the  loft  with  the  words,  "Our  supporter, 
come  into  the  new  house  to  eat  bread  and  to  obey  your  new 
master." 

If  the  family  moves  into  a  new  home,  they  never  forget 
to  take  their  Domovoy  with  them,  and  for  this  purpose  they 
proceed  in  the  following  way.  An  old  woman  heats  a  stove 
in  the  old  house  and  scrapes  the  cinders  out  upon  the  fender, 
putting  these  at  noon  into  a  clean  pan  and  covering  it  with  a 
napkin.  Opening  the  window  and  turning  toward  the  corner 
of  the  room  where  the  oven  stands,  she  invites  the  Domovoy  to 
come  into  the  new  house,  after  which  she  takes  the  pan  with 
the  coal  into  the  new  home  where,  at  the  open  gate,  he  is 
awaited  by  the  master  and  the  mistress  with  bread  and  salt 
in  their  hands.  Bowing  low,  they  again  invite  him  into  the 
new  dwelling,  and  the  old  woman,  with  the  master  of  the  house, 
first  enters  the  room,  carrying  bread  and  salt  in  their  hands. 
The  old  woman  puts  the  pan  by  the  fireside,  and  removing  the 
cloth,  shakes  it  toward  all  the  corners  to  frighten  away  the 
Domovoy  and  then  empties  the  coals  into  the  oven,  after  which 


244  SLAVIC  MYTHOLOGY 

the  pan  is  broken  in  pieces  and  buried  below  the  front  corner 
of  the  room. 

The  Little  Russians  call  their  family  genius  Didko  (Did, 
Diduch)  or  Domovyk,  their  beliefs  about  him  being  similar 
to  those  which  the  Russians  hold  concerning  the  Domovoy. 

The  ancient  Czechs  termed  their  penates  Dedeks,  and  in 
Silesia  traditions  are  still  current  about  the  Djadeks,  or  guard- 
ian genii  of  the  family.  Small  statues  were  made  of  clay  or 
stone,  and  in  earlier  times  were  placed  in  niches  near  the  doors, 
although  later  they  were  set  on  the  mantelpieces  above  the 
oven.  They  generally  represented  an  old  man,  bowed  with  age, 
whose  attire  distinctly  showed  the  costume  of  a  certain  tribe 
of  the  respective  people. 

The  old  Bohemian  word  Setek  or  Sotek  may  be  compared, 
in  point  of  meaning,  with  the  Ded  or  Deduska.  The  betek  is 
believed  to  resemble  a  small  boy  with  claws,  instead  of  nails, 
on  his  hands  and  feet,  and  he  generally  stays  in  the  sheep-shed, 
though  he  also  hides  in  the  flour,  or  in  the  peas,  or  on  a  wild 
pear,  while  in  winter  he  sits  on  the  oven  and  warms  himself. 
The  Setek  protects  the  flocks  from  disease  and  brings  good 
harvests  and  money;  and  he  is  also  said  to  be  able  to  go  without 
eating  and  drinking  for  nine  years,  returning,  after  the  lapse 
of  this  time,  to  the  place  of  his  birth,  where  he  annoys  the 
inmates.  He  may  be  bred  out  of  an  t%^  carried  for  nine  days 
in  the  arm-pit. 

In  the  belief  of  the  Styrian  Slovenians  the  Setek  of  olden 
times  was  a  good  spirit,  about  the  size  of  a  thumb,  who  gen- 
erally haunted  places  where  salt  was  kept,  or  lived  in  stables 
near  young  cattle.  Unless  a  portion  of  all  that  was  boiled  or 
roasted  was  put  aside  for  him,  he  caused  the  fire  in  the  oven 
to  go  out,  or  made  the  pans  crack,  or  caused  the  cows  to  yield 
blood  instead  of  milk,  etc.  Being  of  very  small  size,  he  could 
hide  in  any  place  and  play  tricks  on  those  who  teased  him. 

Another  designation  of  the  family  genius  was  Skritek  ("Hob- 
goblin"), a  term  which  was  derived  from  the  German  Schrat 


PLATE  XXVIII 

DjADEK 

Like  the  Russian  Deduska  Domovoy  (pp.  240-43), 
the  Czech  Djadek  is  in  reality  an  ancestral  spirit 
raised  to  the  dignity  of  guardian  of  the  household. 
After  clay  statues  found  in  Silesia. 


c3 


PLATE  XXIX 

V 

Setek 

While  the  Djadek  (Plate  XXVIII)  is  an  ancestral 
spirit,  the  Setek,  like  the  Skfitek  (pp.  244-45), 
though  now  degraded  to  the  low  estate  of  a  hobgoblin, 
is  in  origin  a  divine  being  who  was  the  special  pro- 
tector of  the  household. 


THE  HOUSEHOLD  GODS  245 

or  Schratt.  This  goblin,  who  appeared  in  the  shape  of  a  small 
boy,  usually  lived  behind  the  oven  or  in  the  stable,  favouring 
the  household  and  sharing  the  joys  and  sorrows  of  the  family; 
and  he  liked  to  do  some  work  in  the  home,  such  as  weaving  on 
the  loom,  sweeping  the  floor,  or  tending  the  flocks. 

In  order  to  court  his  favour  the  household  set  aside  a  portion 
of  their  meals  for  his  consumption,  especially  on  Thursdays 
and  at  Christmas  dinner,  when  three  bits  from  every  dish  were 
assigned  to  him.  If  they  failed  to  do  this,  he  was  angry  and 
stormed  about,  worrying  people,  damaging  the  flocks,  and 
doing  all  sorts  of  harm  to  the  master  of  the  house. 

His  memory  still  lives  in  popular  tradition,  and  he  was 
represented  by  a  wooden  statue,  with  arms  crossed  on  its 
breast  and  wearing  a  crown  upon  its  head.  This  image  stood, 
as  a  rule,  on  a  chiff^onier  in  a  corner  behind  the  table;  and  in 
any  absence  of  the  family  the  Skfitek  was  placed  on  a  chiffonier 
or  on  a  table  to  guard  the  house.  The  Slovaks  call  this  spirit 
Skrata  or  Skriatek  and  conceive  him  as  a  drenched  chicken; 
while  in  Poland  he  is  known  as  Skrzatek,  Skrzat,  or  Skrzot, 
and  is  represented  as  a  bird  (again  most  frequently  a  drenched 
chicken)  dragging  its  wings  and  tail  behind  it.  He  often  trans- 
forms himself  into  a  small  bird  emitting  sparks  from  its 
body,  and  he  may  be  bred  from  an  egg  of  a  peculiar  shape 
carried  for  a  certain  length  of  time  beneath  one's  arm-pit. 
He  haunts  the  corn-loft  and  steals  corn;  in  bad  weather  he  also 
visits  human  dwellings;  and  those  who  give  him  shelter  under 
their  roofs  will  profit  by  his  presence,  for  he  brings  the  house- 
holder grain  and  will  make  him  rich. 

The  Slovenians  in  Styria  likewise  believe  that  the  Skrat 
(Skratec)  brings  money  and  corn.  He  assumes  difl^erent  shapes, 
looking  now  like  a  young  lad,  and  now  like  an  old  man  or 
woman,  or  he  can  transform  himself  into  a  cat,  dog,  goose,  etc.; 
but  since  he  is  covered  with  hair,  he  takes  great  pains  to  hide 
his  body.  He  likes  to  dwell  in  mountains  and  dense  forests, 
and  does  not  allow  people  to  shout  there;  by  day  he  perches  on 


246  SL.\VIC  MYTHOLOGY 

a  beech-tree  or  takes  his  rest  in  dark  caves;  at  night  he  haunts 
villages  and  smithies,  where  he  forges  and  hammers  until  the 
dawn. 

This  goblin  may  be  hired  for  one's  services  or  bred  from  an 
egg  of  a  black  hen;  but  to  gain  his  assistance  it  is  necessary  to 
promise  him  one's  own  self,  as  well  as  one's  wife  and  chil- 
dren, and  such  an  agreement  must  be  signed  in  one's  own 
blood.  In  return  for  all  this  the  Skrat  will  bring  whatsoever 
a  man  may  wish,  placing  these  things  on  the  window-sill,  al- 
though when  he  carries  money,  he  comes  in  the  shape  of  a 
fiery  broom,  flying  down  the  chimney.  Since  millet  gruel  is  his 
favourite  dish,  it  must  be  placed  on  the  window-sill  whenever 
he  brings  anything. 

The  Russians  call  the  Domovoy  Chozyain  or  Chozyainusko 
("Master  of  the  House"),  the  Bulgarian  appellation  Stopan 
and  the  Bohemian  Hospodaricek  having  a  similar  meaning. 

The  Bulgarians  believe  that  every  house  has  its  own  Stopan, 
who  is  descended  from  an  ancestor  distinguished  for  valour 
and  bravery.  The  Stopan  guards  his  family,  securing  them 
health,  long  life,  and  numerous  progeny;  he  makes  the  sheep 
multiply  and  yield  abundance  of  wool  and  milk;  he  promotes 
rich  harvests  and  causes  the  vineyards  to  produce  heavy  grapes 
and  the  orchards  to  bear  plenty  of  fruit,  the  only  reward  which 
he  asks  being  that  the  family  hold  him  in  high  honour  and  give 
him  sufficient  food.  If  they  shirk  this  duty,  he  will  have  his 
revenge:  fields  and  vineyards  may  be  damaged  by  hail;  do- 
mestic animals  and  even  persons  may  contract  all  sorts  of 
disease;  and  whole  families  may  go  to  ruin. 

The  Bohemian  Hospodaricek  is  believed  to  bring  food  and 
money  and  to  warn  the  householder  of  impending  danger. 
His  symbol  is  the  snake,  which  is  also  often  called  Hospodar, 
Hospodaricek,  or  Domovnicek.  Such  a  snake  lives  behind  the 
oven  or  below  the  threshold;  whoever  kills  him  destroys  the 
happiness  and  well-being  of  the  family;  and  if  he  dies,  the  life 
of  the  master  of  the  house  must  also  end.    He  is  very  much 


THE  HOUSEHOLD  GODS  247 

attached  to  the  family,  especially  to  children;  and  in  time  of 
harvest,  when  there  is  no  one  in  the  house,  he  keeps  watch  over 
the  home  and  looks  after  the  cattle.  Frequently  two  snakes 
live  in  the  house,  a  male  and  a  female;  and  similar  ideas  con- 
cerning  snakes  called  Zmek,  Smok,  or  Cmok  are  widely  current 
among  other  Slavs  as  well. 

The  worship  of  family  genii  is  often  closely  associated  with 
myths  about  dwarfs,  those  about  the  Ludki  ("Little  People") 
being  particularly  common.  In  the  belief  of  the  Lusatian 
Serbs  these  Ludki  were  the  first  inhabitants  of  Lusatia  (Lausitz), 
where  they  lived  in  ages  long  past  and  had  their  own  king. 
They  were  pagans  and  could  not  endure  the  ringing  of  bells, 
but  later  they  left  the  country,  so  that  now  they  are  rarely 
seen.  They  were  small  in  stature,  their  heads  were  dispro- 
portionately large,  and  their  eyes  protruded;  they  dressed 
gaily  and  wore  big  hats  or  red  caps  upon  their  heads.  They 
spoke  their  own  language,  which  was  a  much  altered  form  of 
Serbian,  and  had  a  peculiar  mode  of  talking  by  following  up  any 
positive  assertion  by  a  negative  expression  of  the  same  idea. 
They  lived  partly  in  human  dwellings  and  partly  in  woods,  on 
mountains,  and  also  underground,  their  abodes  resembling 
bakers'  ovens  and  being  furnished  like  an  ordinary  house. 
The  Ludki  grew  corn,  picking  the  kernels  with  an  awl; 
and  when  the  ears  had  been  thrashed,  the  grain  was  ground 
between  two  stones.  This  coarse  and  sandy  flour  was  made 
into  bread  by  placing  the  dough  between  two  smooth  stones 
and  keeping  it  underground  till  it  became  hard;  but  it  was 
necessarily  sandy,  coarse,  brown,  and  doughy.  Moreover  they 
consumed  roots  of  plants  and  wild  fruit;  in  case  of  need  they 
borrowed  bread  from  human  beings;  and  they  often  cut  grain 
in  time  of  harvest,  stole  pods  and  turnips,  and  carried  away 
anything  suitable  for  food.  They  were  familiar  with  all  sorts 
of  handicraft,  especially  with  the  smith's  trade;  and  it  was 
they  who  taught  mankind  the  art  of  building  houses. 

Fond  of  music  and  singing,  the  Ludki  knew  how  to  play 
III — 17 


248  SLAVIC  AnTHOLOGY 

upon  an  Instrument  resembling  a  cymbal;  and  being  endowed 
with  the  art  of  prophecy,  they  often  foretold  things  that  were 
to  happen.  They  lived  In  families  and  had  pompous  feasts 
at  their  weddings  and  christenings;  but  the  Ludki  households 
were  hostile  to  each  other  and  waged  violent  internecine  wars. 
Toward  human  beings,  on  the  other  hand,  they  were  well 
disposed,  and  they  borrowed  kneading-troughs,  churns,  and 
pots  from  men,  doing  their  best  to  recompense  those  who 
willingly  complied  with  their  requests,  but  cruelly  punishing 
those  who  oflFended  them.  Their  friendly  relations,  however, 
were  restricted  to  one  special  human  household,  which  gave 
them  food,  mostly  millet,  and  conversed  with  them. 

When  such  a  Ludek  died,  his  relatives  burned  his  body,  put 
the  ashes  Into  vessels,  and  burled  the  latter  In  the  earth. 
During  the  funeral  ceremonies  the  friends  and  relatives  of  the 
dead  wept  copiously,  collecting  the  tears  in  small  jars  which 
they  held  under  their  eyes  and  burled  when  filled,  whence  the 
urns,  pots,  and  lachrymatories  found  In  ancient  graves  still 
remind  us  of  these  Ludki.  The  Poles  in  Prussian  Poland  call 
similar  beings  KrasnoludI  or  Krasnoludkl;  and  among  the 
Slovaks  In  Hungary  the  Lutky  are  small  spirits  who  live  on 
mountains  and  in  mines. 


CHAPTER    IV 
GENII    OF   FATE 

INTERESTING  evidence  of  fatalism  Is  recorded  by  the 
Greek  historian  Procopius,^^  who  asserts  that  the  Slavs 
knew  nothing  about  fate  and  denied  that  it  had  any  sort  of 
influence  on  man;  when  threatened  by  death  or  overcome  by 
illness,  or  when  preparing  for  war,  they  vowed  to  offer  a 
sacrifice  to  the  gods,  should  the  peril  be  luckily  passed. 

This  evidence  may  be  considered  as  proof  that  the  Slavs 
were  not  blind  fatalists,  but  believed  In  a  higher  being  who 
dealt  out  life  and  death,  and  whose  favour  might  be  won 
by  sacrifices.  Many  reports  about  these  beings  have  been 
preserved. 

Among  the  ancient  Russian  deities  written  tradition  makes 
mention  of  Rod  and  Rozanice,^^  to  whom  the  ancient  Slavs 
offered  bread,  cheese,  and  honey.  This  worship  of  Rod  and 
Rozanice  points  to  the  fact  that,  In  the  belief  of  the  ancient 
Slavs,  the  fate  of  man  depended,  first  of  all,  on  his  descent, 
viz.  his  male  forefathers  and  ancestors  and  on  his  mother 
(rozanice).  The  function  of  the  ancestors  as  the  dispensers  of 
fate  having  gradually  disappeared  from  the  belief  of  the  people, 
the  Rozanices  alone  kept  their  place,  this  being  easily  explained 
by  the  fact  that  the  connexion  between  a  new-born  child  and 
its  mother  is  much  more  intimate  and  apparent  than  that 
with  the  whole  line  of  ancestors.  Similarly  the  Roman  Junones 
(protectors  of  women)  were  originally  souls  of  the  dead,^^ 
while  the  Disirs  of  Scandinavian  mythology  are  spirits  of 
deceased  mothers  that  have  become  dispensers  of  fate. 

Among  the  Croatlans  and  Slovenians  the  original  appellations 


250  SLAVIC  MYTHOLOGY 

of  Rodjenice,  Rojenlce  (from  roditi,  "to  give  birth")  are  still 
much  in  vogue.  As  they  were  believed  to  predestine  the  fate 
of  new-born  children,  they  were  also  called  Sudice  ("Givers 
of  Fate"),  Sudjenice,  Sujenice  (Croatian),  Sojenice,  Sujenice 
(Slovenian),  Sudzenici  (Bulgarian),  or  Sudicky  (Bohemian). 

The  Bulgarians  have  their  own  name  for  them,  viz.  Narucnici 
{narok,  "destiny")  or  they  call  them  Orisnici,  Urisnici,  Uresici 
(from  the  Greek  6pi!^ovTe<;^  "establishing,  determining");  and 
in  northern  Russia  they  go  by  the  name  of  Udelnicy,  i.  e. 
"Dispensers  (of  Destiny)." 

These  genii  of  fate  are  usually  regarded  as  pretty  lasses  or 
as  good-natured  old  women.  The  Southern  Slavs  speak  of 
them  as  being  beautiful  like  fairies,  with  white,  round  cheeks, 
and  attired  in  white  garments;  their  heads  are  covered  with 
a  white  cloth,  their  necks  are  adorned  with  gold  and  silver 
trinkets  and  with  jewellery,  and  In  their  hands  they  hold 
burning  candles,  so  that  on  moonlit  nights  their  ethereal  figures 
may  easily  be  seen.  The  Czechs  entertain  similar  ideas:  the 
goddesses  of  destiny  appear  like  white  maidens  or  old  women; 
they  are  tall  in  stature,  and  their  bodies  are  well-nigh  trans- 
parent; their  cheeks  are  pale,  but  their  eyes  sparkle  and  may 
bewitch  people.  Their  garments  are  white,  and  their  heads 
are  covered  with  white  kerchiefs,  although  sometimes  their 
whole  faces  are  shrouded  with  a  white  veil.  According  to  other 
traditions  they  wear  a  glistening  robe,  and  their  hair  is  adorned 
with  precious  stones;  yet,  on  the  other  hand,  they  are  also 
described  as  being  very  plainly  attired  with  only  a  wreath  of 
silvan  flowers  on  their  heads.  The  Bulgarian  Narucnici  wear 
a  white  dress. 

Although  definite  forms  are  thus  ascribed  to  the  fate-spirits, 
they  are  very  seldom  visible.  Whoever  catches  a  glimpse  of 
them  will  be  stupified  with  horror  and  will  be  unable  to  move 
a  single  step.  The  members  of  a  family  very  rarely  see  them, 
this  experience  usually  being  reserved  for  a  visitor  or  a  beggar. 

The  Bohemians  believe  that  after  sending  deep  sleep  upon 


GENII   OF   FATE  251 

a  woman  lying  in  childbed,  the  Destinies  put  the  infant  upon 
the  table  and  decide  his  or  her  fate.  Usually  three  Destinies 
appear,  the  third  and  oldest  being  the  most  powerful;  but 
mention  is  also  made  of  one,  four,  five,  seven,  or  nine,  with  a 
queen  at  their  head.  Their  decisions  often  thwart  one  another, 
but  what  the  last  says  is  decisive  and  will  be  fulfilled.  The  chief 
matters  which  they  determine  are  how  long  the  child  will  live, 
whether  it  will  be  rich  or  poor,  and  what  will  be  the  manner  of 
its  death.  According  to  a  wide-spread  belief,  the  first  spins, 
the  second  measures,  and  the  third  cuts  off  the  thread  whose 
length  signifies  the  duration  of  life  of  the  new-born  mortal. 

It  is  generally  held  that  the  Destinies  may  be  Induced  to  give 
a  favourable  verdict  by  means  of  presents  and  sacrifices;  and 
on  the  night  after  the  birth  the  Croatians  and  Slovenians  are 
in  the  habit  of  placing  wax  candles,  wine,  bread,  and  salt  upon 
the  table  of  the  room  where  the  woman  lies;  should  this  be 
omitted,  an  evil  fate  would  be  in  store  for  the  child.  The 
Slovenians  of  Istria  bring  bread  to  the  caves  where  the 
Rodjenices  live  and  put  it  under  stones  near  the  entrance; 
while  in  Bulgaria  a  supper  Is  prepared  for  the  Oresnicis,  and 
the  relations  are  Invited  to  partake  of  It.  In  Bohemia  a  table 
covered  with  a  white  cloth  was  made  ready  for  them,  chairs 
were  placed  around  It,  and  on  It  were  laid  bread,  salt,  and 
butter,  with  the  occasional  addition  of  cheese  and  beer;  and 
at  the  christening  feast,  in  similar  fashion,  remnants  of  the 
meal  were  left  on  the  table  in  order  to  propitiate  the  spirits 
of  destiny. 

Russian  tradition  personifies  the  fate  bestowed  upon  a  man 
at  his  birth  as  a  supernatural  being  called  Dolya,  who  is  de- 
scribed as  a  poorly  dressed  woman  capable  of  transforming  her- 
self Into  various  shapes.  She  usually  lives  behind  the  oven  and 
Is  either  good  or  evil.  The  good  Dolya  protects  her  favourite 
by  day  and  by  night  and  serves  him  faithfully  from  his  birth 
to  his  death.  She  takes  care  of  his  children,  waters  his  fields 
and  meadows  with  dew,  works  for  him,  drives  fish  Into  his 


252  SLAMC  MYTHOLOGY 

nets  and  swarms  of  bees  into  his  hives,  protects  him  against 
wild  beasts,  guards  his  flocks,  gets  purchasers  for  his  goods, 
increases  the  price  of  his  crops,  selects  good,  full  ears  from 
other  people's  sheaves  for  him,  and  bestows  good  health  upon 
him.  No  one  will  succeed  unless  she  helps  him,  and  without 
her  assistance  all  his  efi"orts  will  be  in  vain.  Woe  to  him  who 
gets  an  evil  Dolya  (Nedolya,  Licho)  for  his  share!  All  his  toil 
and  all  his  endeavours  will  be  of  no  avail;  his  evil  Dolya  does 
nothing  but  sleep  or  dress  herself  or  make  merry,  never  think- 
ing of  ofl"ering  him  any  aid.  Her  power  has  no  limits,  so  that  a 
proverb  says,  "Not  even  your  horse  will  get  you  away  from 
your  Dolya,"  i.e.  it  is  impossible  to  get  rid  of  her;  all  attempts 
to  sell  her,  or  make  her  lose  herself  in  woods,  or  drown  her  in 
the  sea  are  bound  to  fail. 

The  Russian  Dolya  has  a  Serbian  counterpart  in  the  Sreca, 
her  relation  to  the  Dolya  being  the  same  as  that  of  the  Latin 
fors  to  Jortuna  and  of  sors  to  fatum.  She  is  described  as  a 
beautiful  girl  spinning  a  golden  thread,  and  she  bestows  wel- 
fare upon  the  mortal  to  whom  she  is  assigned,  caring  for  his 
fields  and  grazing  his  flocks.  In  national  songs  and  traditions 
the  Sreca  frequently  occurs  as  an  independent  being  by  the 
side  of  God. 

The  SreCa  is,  however,  not  only  good,  but  also  evil,  in  which 
latter  case  she  is  misfortune  personified  and  may  be  called 
Nesreca.  In  this  aspect  she  is  represented  as  an  old  woman 
with  bloodshot  eyes,  always  sleeping  and  taking  no  notice  of 
her  master's  aff"airs,  although  she  is  also  said  to  be  engaged  in 
spinning.  Unlike  the  Dolya,  a  man  may  get  rid  of  her  and 
drive  her  away. 


CHAPTER    V 
NAVKY   AND    RUSALKY 

THE  souls  of  children  that  have  died  unbaptized,  or  are 
born  of  mothers  who  have  met  a  violent  death,  are  per- 
sonified as  Navky,  this  term  being  cognate  with  Old  Slavic 
navi,  Russian  navie,  Little  Russian  navk  ("  dead "),^^  and  being 
found  throughout  the  Slavic  languages  —  Bulgarian  Navi, 
Navjaci;  Little  Russian  Nejky,  Mavky,  Majky;  Slovenian 
Navje,  Mavje;  etc. 

In  the  traditions  of  the  Little  Russians  the  Mavky,  who  are 
children  either  drowned  by  their  mothers  or  unbaptized,  have 
the  appearance  of  small  babies,  or  of  young,  beautiful  girls 
with  curly  hair.  They  are  either  half-naked  or  wear  only  a 
white  shirt;  and  on  moonlit  nights  they  rock  on  branches  of 
trees,  seeking  to  attract  young  people  either  by  imitating  the 
crying  of  infants  or  by  laughing,  giggling,  and  clapping  their 
hands.  Whoever  follows  their  enticing  voices  will  be  bewitched 
by  their  beauty,  and  at  last  will  be  tickled  to  death  and  drawn 
into  deep  water.  They  live  in  woods  and  on  steppes.  Very  often 
they  may  be  seen  in  young  corn;  and  by  day  they  walk  along 
the  fields,  crying  and  wailing.  In  summer  they  swim  in  rivers 
and  lakes,  beating  the  water  merrily;  during  the  fairy-week  they 
run  about  fields  and  meadows,  lamenting,  "Mother  has  borne 
me  and  left  me  unbaptized."  They  are  angry  at  those  who  al- 
lowed them  to  die  unchristened,  and  whosoever  chances  to  hear 
their  wailing  voices  should  say,  "  I  baptize  thee  in  the  name 
of  God  the  Father,  God  the  Son,  and  God  the  Holy  Spirit." 
This  will  set  them  free;  but  if  for  seven  years  they  find  no  one 
to  take  pity  on  them,  they  are  turned  into  water-nymphs. 


254  SLAVIC  MYTHOLOGY 

According  to  Bulgarian  tradition  in  Macedonia,  the  Navi 
and  Navjaci  are  invisible  genii  soaring  in  the  depths  of  the 
firmament,  appearing  in  the  shape  of  birds,  and  crying  like 
infants.  They  are  the  souls  of  children  who  have  died  un- 
baptized,  and  in  their  search  for  their  mothers  they  attack 
and  trouble  women  in  childbed.  They  may  be  set  free,  however, 
if  the  baptismal  formula  is  said  over  them.  The  Slovenian 
Navje,  in  like  manner,  are  believed  to  fly  about  in  the  form  of 
huge,  black  birds,  who  plead  to  be  baptized.  If  any  one  is 
moved  to  pity  by  their  wailing  and  baptizes  them,  he  will  be 
their  great  benefactor;  but  if  he  ridicules  them  or  whistles  at 
them,  he  will  rouse  their  anger.  The  Poles  call  such  beings 
Latawci.  A  child  that  has  died  unchristened  wanders  about 
the  world  for  seven  years  and  begs  for  baptism;  but  if  it 
meets  no  one  to  take  compassion  on  it,  it  will  be  turned  into 
one  of  these  spirits. 

Very  similar  to  the  Navky  are  the  Rusalky  ("Water- 
Nymphs"),  whose  name  is  derived  from  the  Rusalye,  of  which 
more  will  subsequently  be  said.'^  Belief  in  them  is  most  widely 
spread  among  the  Russians,  who  hold  that  they  are  children 
who  have  died  unbaptized,  or  have  been  drowned  or  suffocated, 
or  else  that  they  are  girls  and  young  wives  who  have  met  an 
unnatural  death,  or  have  been  cursed  by  their  parents.  Some- 
times the  Rusalky  appear  as  girls  seven  years  old,  sometimes 
as  maidens  in  the  full  bloom  of  youth.  They  cover  their  beau- 
tiful bodies  with  green  leaves,  or  with  a  white  shirt  without  a 
belt;  and  at  Whitsuntide  they  sit  on  trees,  asking  women  for 
a  frock  and  girls  for  a  shirt,  whence  women  hang  on  the  branches 
strips  of  linen  or  little  shreds  torn  from  their  dresses,  this  being 
meant  as  a  sacrifice  to  propitiate  these  water-nymphs. 

The  Rusalky  live  in  woods,  meadows,  fields,  and  waters. 
Generally  appearing  when  the  corn  begins  to  ripen  in  the 
fields,  and  concealed  amidst  it,  ready  to  punish  him  who 
wantonly  plucks  the  ears,  they  dance  and  make  merry, 
adorned  with  the  many-coloured  blossoms  of  the  poppy  and 


NAVKY  AND   RUSALKY  255 

with  their  hair  flying  loose.  At  Whitsuntide  they  run  about  the 
meadows,  or  they  frolic  among  the  high-standing  corn  and, 
rocking  upon  it,  make  it  wave  to  and  fro.  Whole  bevies  of 
them  live  on  lonely  spots  along  the  streams,  or  in  deep  places 
and  under  rapids.  Sitting  in  the  depths  of  brooks  and  rivers, 
they  entangle  the  fishermen's  nets;  by  breaking  the  dikes  they 
flood  the  adjoining  fields  and  wreck  the  bridges;  and  they  may 
also  cause  fatal  storms,  dangerous  rains,  and  heavy  hail. 
Rising  to  the  surface  of  the  stream  on  clear  summer  nights, 
they  bathe,  sprinkling  the  water  around  them  and  frolicking  in 
the  waves;  they  like  to  sit  on  the  mill-wheel,  splashing  each 
other,  and  then  they  dive  deep,  crying,  "Kuku."  In  late  spring 
especially  they  come  out  of  the  water,  and  run  about  the 
neighbouring  woods  and  thickets,  clapping  their  hands  and 
turning  somersaults  upon  the  grass,  while  their  laughter  re- 
sounds far  and  wide  in  the  forests.  In  the  evening  they  like 
to  rock  upon  slender  branches,  enticing  unwary  wanderers; 
and  if  they  succeed  in  leading  any  one  astray,  they  tickle  him 
to  death,  or  draw  him  down  into  the  depths  of  the  stream. 

The  Rusalky  are  extremely  fond  of  music  and  singing;  and 
their  fine  voices  lure  swimmers  to  deep  places,  where  they 
drown.  The  water-nymphs  also  divert  themselves  by  dancing 
in  the  pale  moonlight,  and  they  inveigle  shepherds  to  play  with 
them,  the  places  where  they  dance  being  marked  by  circles 
in  which  the  grass  is  particularly  luxuriant  and  green.  Fond  of 
spinning,  they  hang  their  yam  on  trees;  and  after  washing 
the  linen  which  they  weave,  they  spread  it  on  the  banks  to 
dry.    If  a  man  treads  on  such  linen,  he  becomes  weak  and  lame. 

It  is  during  Whitsuntide  that  the  Rusalky  display  their 
greatest  activity,  and  then,  for  fear  of  them,  people  do  not  stay 
outdoors  by  night  more  than  is  necessary,  do  not  bathe  in 
rivers,  do  not  clap  their  hands,  and  avoid  all  work  in  the  fields 
that  might  anger  the  water-nymphs,  while  on  the  banks  of 
rivers  and  brooks  lads  and  lasses  place  bread,  cheese,  butter, 
and  other  kinds  of  food  for  them. 


CHAPTER   VI 
VILY 

THE  Greek  historian  Procopius  ^^  testifies  to  the  ancient 
Slavic  worship  of  beings  similar  to  the  Greek  nymphs, 
and  he  also  tells  us  that  the  Slavs  offered  sacrifices  to  them. 
The  most  common  designation  of  these  beings  is  "Fairy" 
(Vila),  and  they  are  frequently  mentioned  in  the  ancient  writ- 
ten traditions  of  the  Russians,  the  Southern  Slavs,  and  the 
Czechs,  although  their  worship  flourished  most  among  the 
Southern  Slavs,  where  they  were  made  to  unite  many  features 
of  other  fabled  beings. 

The  signification  of  the  word  Vila "  (Bulgarian  Samovila, 
Samodiva)  has  not  yet  been  explained  in  a  satisfactory  manner, 
but  it  seems  to  come  from  the  root  vel  ("perish")  and  to  be 
cognate  with  Lithuanian  veles  ("spirits  of  the  deceased"). 

According  to  popular  tradition  the  fairies  are  souls  of  the 
departed,  and  Serbian  legends  declare  that  originally  they 
were  proud  maidens  who  incurred  the  curse  of  God.  The  Bul- 
garians believe  that  the  Samovily  are  girls  who  have  died 
unbaptized,  and  among  the  Slovaks  there  is  a  wide-spread 
story  that  the  fairies  are  souls  of  brides  who  died  after  their 
betrothal,  and  finding  no  rest,  are  doomed  to  roam  about  at 
night.  The  Poles  think  that  the  Wili  are  souls  of  beautiful 
young  girls  who  are  condemned  to  atone  for  their  frivolous 
life  by  floating  in  the  air  midway  between  sky  and  earth; 
they  do  good  to  those  who  have  favoured  them  during  their 
lifetime,  but  evil  to  those  who  have  offended  them. 

A  close  relationship  is  held  to  exist  between  the  fairies  and 
the  souls  of  the  deceased,  as  is  evidenced  by  the  belief  that 


VILY  257 

they  may  often  be  seen  dancing  by  moonlight  near  the  graves 
of  those  who  have  died  a  violent  death.  The  festivals  for  the 
Rusalky,  which  are  meant  to  recall  the  memory  of  the  souls 
of  the  deceased,  are,  at  the  same  time,  festivals  of  the  Vily, 
in  whose  honour  all  sorts  of  ceremonies  are  performed;  and 
young  people  of  both  sexes  betake  themselves  to  the  meadows, 
picking  flowers,  making  them  into  bouquets,  and  singing  songs 
about  the  fairies. 

The  Vily  are  believed  to  have  lived  originally  in  close  con- 
tact and  friendship  with  human  beings.  In  the  happy  days  of 
yore,  when  the  fields  produced  wheat  and  other  sorts  of  cereals 
without  the  help  of  man,  when  people  lived  In  peace  and  con- 
tentedness  and  mutual  goodwill,  the  fairies  helped  them  to 
garner  their  harvests,  to  mow  their  grass,  to  feed  their  cattle, 
and  to  build  their  houses;  they  taught  them  how  to  plough, 
to  sow,  to  drain  meadows,  and  even  how  to  bury  the  dead. 
But  so  soon  as  men  had  departed  from  their  old  virtues,  when 
the  shepherds  had  thrown  away  their  flutes  and  drums  and 
songs,  and  had  taken  whips  into  their  hands  and  commenced 
to  crack  them  in  their  pastures,  cursing  and  swearing,  and 
when,  finally,  the  first  reports  of  guns  were  heard,  and  nations 
began  to  make  war  against  each  other,  the  Vily  left  the  country 
and  went  to  foreign  lands.  That  is  why  only  very  few  chance 
to  see  them  dancing  in  the  fields,  or  sitting  upon  a  bare  rock 
or  a  deserted  cliff^,  weeping  and  singing  melancholy  songs. 

In  like  manner  the  Slovenians  believe  that  the  fairies  were 
kind  and  well  disposed  toward  human  beings,  telling  them  what 
times  were  particularly  suitable  for  ploughing,  sowing,  and  har- 
vesting. They  themselves  also  took  good  care  of  the  crops, 
tearing  out  weeds  and  cockles;  and  In  return  for  all  this  they 
asked  for  some  food,  which  they  ate  during  the  night.  So  long 
as  their  anger  was  not  aroused,  they  would  appear  every  sum- 
mer; but  when  mankind  commenced  to  lead  a  sinful  life,  and 
when  whistling  and  shouting  and  cracking  of  whips  began  to 
Increase  In  the  fields,  the  Vily  disappeared,  never  to  return 


258  SLAVIC  MYTHOLOGY 

until  a  better  day  has  dawned.  The  belief  that  a  Vila  may 
become  a  man's  sister  also  points  to  the  existence  of  close  rela- 
tions between  them  and  human  beings;  and  it  is  a  popular  con- 
viction that  not  only  every  young  lad  and,  indeed,  every  honest 
man  has  a  fairy  for  his  sister  who  helps  him  in  case  of  need,  but 
even  some  animals,  such  as  stags,  roes,  and  chamois,  for  whom 
the  Vily  have  a  special  liking,  may  possess  such  supernatural 
kindred.  The  fairies  will  aid  their  brothers  in  danger,  will  bless 
their  property,  and  will  bestow  all  sorts  of  presents  upon  them. 
In  numerous  folk-tales  Vily  are  married  to  young  men.  They 
are  dutiful  wives  and  excellent  housekeepers,  but  their  hus- 
bands must  not  remind  them  of  their  descent,  or  they  will 
disappear  forever,  though  they  still  continue  to  keep  secret 
watch  over  the  welfare  of  their  children. 

The  Vily  are  pictured  as  beautiful  women,  eternally  young, 
with  pale  cheeks,  and  dressed  in  white.  Their  long  hair  is 
usually  fair  or  golden,  and  their  life  and  strength  are  believed 
to  depend  upon  it,  so  that  if  a  fairy  loses  a  single  hair,  she  will 
die.  The  Slovenians,  however,  assert  that  a  Vila  will  show 
herself  in  her  true  shape  to  any  one  who  succeeds  in  cutting 
off  her  hair.  Their  bodies  are  as  slender  as  the  stem  of  a  pine, 
and  as  light  as  those  of  birds;  and  they  are  frequently  provided 
with  wings.  A  man  who  robs  a  fairy  of  her  pinions  will  bind 
her  to  himself;  but  so  soon  as  she  has  regained  possession  of 
them,  she  will  disappear.  The  eyes  of  the  Vily  flash  Hke 
lightning,  and  their  voices  are  so  fine  and  sweet  that  to  hear 
them  once  is  to  remember  them  forever.  Men  are  often  fa- 
scinated by  their  beauty;  he  who  once  chances  to  see  a  Vila, 
will  yearn  for  her  from  the  depths  of  his  soul,  and  his  longing 
will  kill  him  at  last. 

The  fairies  like  to  ride  horses  and  stags,  and  they  have  the 
power  of  transforming  themselves  into  horses,  wolves,  snakes, 
falcons,  or  swans.  They  live  in  the  clouds,  on  forest-clad 
mountains,  and  in  the  waters.  The  first  kind  sit  among  the 
clouds,  sleeping,  singing,  and  dancing.   They  may  cause  winds 


VILY  259 

and  storms,  and  have  eagles  for  their  helpers;  now  and  then, 
transforming  themselves  into  birds,  they  float  down  to  the 
earth  to  prophesy  the  future  and  to  protect  mankind  against 
disaster.  They  also  live  in  the  stars,  while  the  Vily  of  the 
forests  dwell  on  high  mountains,  in  caves,  and  in  ravines,  be- 
sides having  magnificent  castles  for  their  abodes.  Roaming 
about  the  woods  on  horseback  or  on  stags,  the  fairies  of  the 
forests  chase  the  deer  with  arrows;  they  kill  men  who  defy 
them;  and  they  like  to  perch  on  trees  with  which  they  are 
inseparably  united.  The  Water-Vily  live  in  rivers,  lakes, 
springs,  and  wells,  although  for  the  most  part  they  stay  outside 
the  water.  When,  on  moonlit  nights,  they  leave  their  abodes, 
the  waters  rise  and  foam;  and  the  fairies,  dancing  on  the  banks, 
drown  young  men  who  happen  to  be  bathing  there.  If  they 
perceive  a  man  on  the  opposite  bank,  they  grow  in  size  so  as 
to  be  able  to  step  across  the  stream.  They  bathe  their  children 
in  the  water,  or  throw  things  in  to  poison  it;  and  whoever 
quenches  his  thirst  there  must  die,  just  as  they  will  punish  any 
one  who  drinks  of  their  springs  without  their  permission. 

The  fairies  are  fond  of  singing  and  dancing;  and  enticing 
young  lads  and  shepherds  or  singers  to  dance  with  them,  they 
distribute  happiness  or  misfortune  among  them.  Places  where 
the  fairies  have  been  dancing  may  be  recognized  from  afar, 
being  distinguished  by  thick,  deep,  green  grass  (fairy-rings); 
and  if  any  one  presumes  to  step  inside,  he  must  expect  punish- 
ment. Their  voices  are  so  wonderfully  sweet  that  a  man  might 
listen  to  them  for  many  days  without  eating  or  drinking;  but 
no  one  knows  what  language  they  use  in  singing,  and  only 
those  who  enjoy  their  friendship  can  understand  them.  They 
are  remarkable  for  their  strength  and  bravery;  and  when 
fighting  with  each  other,  as  they  often  do,  the  forest  resounds 
with  din  and  clamour,  while  the  ground  shakes.  They  have 
the  power  of  foretelling  the  future  and  of  curing  diseases. 
When  free,  they  give  birth  to  children,  but  are  apt  to  foist 
them  upon  mortal  women;  such  offspring  are  remarkable  for 


26o  SLAVIC  iMYTHOLOGY 

their  excellent  memory  and  wonderful  cleverness.  On  the  other 
hand,  they  kidnap  children,  feeding  them  with  honey  and 
instructing  them  in  all  kinds  of  knowledge. 

Though  the  fairies  are,  on  the  whole,  good-natured  and 
charitable  beings,  they  may  also  do  evil  to  people;  and  accord- 
ingly they  may  be  classed  as  white  (beneficent)  or  black  (malef- 
icent) fairies,  the  latter  sending  cruel  maladies  upon  people,  or 
wounding  their  feet,  hands,  or  hearts  with  arrows. 

Many  kinds  of  offerings  are  still  dedicated  to  the  Vily. 
In  Croatia  young  girls  place  fruits  of  the  field,  or  flowers,  or 
silk  ribbons  upon  stones  in  caves  as  offerings  to  them;  and 
in  Bulgaria  gay  ribbons  are  hung  on  trees,  or  little  cakes  are 
placed  near  wells. 

The  Judy  of  Macedonia  and  of  the  Rhodope  Mountains 
strongly  resemble  these  Samovily.  They  are  female  beings  with 
long  tresses,  snake-like  and  disgusting  bodies,  and  vile  natures, 
living  in  rivers  and  lakes.  If  they  see  a  man  in  the  water,  they 
will  undo  their  hair,  and  throwing  it  around  him,  will  drown 
him.  They  may  be  seen  sitting  on  the  banks,  combing  their 
hair,  or  dancing  on  meadows;  and  they  destroy  those  whom 
they  induce  to  dance  with  them. 


PLATE   XXX 

LesnI  Zenka 

As  in  so  many  mythologies,  the  wood-nymphs  of 
Slavic  belief  have  both  kindly  and  dangerous 
qualities,  and  their  love,  like  that  of  divine  beings 
generally,  is  apt  to  be  dangerous  to  mortals.  Origi- 
nally the  Lesni  Zenka  and  similar  Slavic  minor  god- 
desses may  have  corresponded  to  the  Lettish  forest- 
goddess  Meschamaat.  After  a  picture  by  N.  Ales. 
For  other  idealizations  by  this  artist  see  Plates 
XXXIII-XXXVI. 


K\    ^■ 


flvfv^'. 


'  'f/V  -s'"'*  6  /^^   >-^v     V^iii  / 


CHAPTER  VII 
SILVAN  SPIRITS 

THE  Russians  call  a  silvan  spirit  Lesiy,  Lesovik  (cf.  Russian 
/(fjw,  "forest,  wood"),  and  such  a  being  shows  himself 
either  in  human  or  in  animal  guise.  When  he  appears  in  the 
former  shape,  he  is  an  old  man  with  long  hair  and  beard,  with 
flashing  green  eyes,  and  with  his  body  covered  by  a  thick  coat 
of  hair.  His  stature  depends  on  the  height  of  the  tree,  etc., 
which  he  inhabits:  in  the  forests  he  may  attain  the  size  of 
high  trees;  in  the  fields  he  is  no  taller  than  grass.  In  the 
woods  the  Lesiye  frequently  appear  to  travellers  as  ordinary 
people  or  as  their  friends;  but  at  other  times  they  take  the 
shapes  of  bears,  wolves,  hares,  etc.  They  live  in  deep  woods 
and  in  fields;  forests,  fields,  and  meadows  are  the  realm  over 
which  they  rule.  Usually  there  is  only  one  Lesiy  in  each  wood; 
but  if  there  are  several,  a  "silvan  czar"  is  their  lord.  Some 
Lesiye  remain  alone  by  themselves  in  forest  solitudes  and 
in  caves,  while  others  are  fond  of  society  and  build  in  the 
woods  spacious  dwellings  where  they  live  with  their  wives 
and  children. 

The  principal  business  of  the  silvan  spirits  is  to  guard  the 
forest.  They  do  not  allow  people  to  whistle  or  to  shout  there; 
they  drive  away  thieves,  frightening  them  by  their  cries  and 
playing  pranks  upon  them.  The  deer  and  the  birds  enjoy 
their  protection;  but  their  favourite  is  the  bear,  with  whom 
they  feast  and  revel. 

When  the  Lesiy  walks  through  the  forest  to  look  after  his 
property,  a  rustling  of  the  trees  accompanies  him;  he  roams 
through  the  wood,  rocks  upon  the  boughs,  whistles,  laughs, 


262  SLAVIC  MYTHOLOGY 

claps  his  hands,  cracks  his  whip,  neighs  like  a  horse,  lows  like 
a  cow,  barks  like  a  dog,  and  mews  like  a  cat.  The  echo  is 
his  work;  and  since  a  strong  wind  constantly  blows  around 
him,  no  man  has  ever  seen  his  footsteps  either  in  sand  or  in 
snow. 

He  is  of  a  mocking  and  teasing  disposition,  and  is  fond  of 
misleading  those  who  have  lost  their  way,  removing  boundary- 
stones  and  signposts,  or  taking  the  shape  of  a  wanderer's 
friend  to  confuse  him  and  lure  him  into  thickets  and  morasses. 
He  also  entices  girls  and  children  into  his  copses,  where  he 
keeps  them  until,  long  afterward,  they  escape  with  their 
honour  lost;  and  he  likewise  substitutes  his  own  offspring  for 
human  children,  such  a  changeling  being  ugly,  stupid,  and 
voracious,  but  strong  as  a  horse.  If  a  man  suddenly  falls  ill 
while  in  the  forest,  he  believes  that  this  affliction  has  been 
sent  upon  him  by  the  Lesiy;  to  recover  his  health  he  wraps  a 
slice  of  salted  bread  in  linen  and  lays  it  in  the  woods  as  a 
present  for  the  silvan  spirit. 

Shepherds  and  huntsmen  gain  the  Lesiy's  favour  by  presents. 
The  former  make  him  an  offering  in  the  shape  of  a  cow  and 
thus  secure  his  protection  for  their  flocks;  while  the  latter 
place  a  piece  of  salted  bread  on  the  stump  of  a  tree  and  leave 
for  him  the  first  game  which  they  take.  Moreover,  the  recita- 
tion of  certain  formulae  secures  his  services,  and  there  are 
many  ways  to  obviate  the  danger  of  being  led  astray  by  him, 
as  by  turning  one's  garments  inside  out,  putting  the  right 
shoe  on  the  left  foot,  bending  down  to  look  between  one's 
legs,  etc. 

Nymphs  and  dryads  likewise  show  themselves  in  the  woods, 
and  are  pictured  as  beautiful  girls,  wearing  a  white  or  green 
gown,  and  with  golden  or  green  hair.  In  the  evening,  when 
stillness  reigns  in  nature,  they  divert  themselves  by  dancing 
and  singing;  and  they  also  dance  at  noon,  when  it  is  dan- 
gerous to  approach  their  circles,  since  they  dance  or  tickle 
to  death  those  who  allow  themselves  to  be  attracted  by  their 


SILVAN   SPIRITS  263 

songs.  They  are  most  perilous  to  young  lads,  whereas  they 
often  feel  pity  for  girls  and  richly  reward  them. 

The  dryads  punish  children  who  shout  in  the  woods  while 
gathering  mushrooms;  but,  on  the  other  hand,  if  they  are 
courteously  asked,  they  show  where  these  fungi  grow  in  abund- 
ance. The  forest  where  they  live  usually  contains  a  magic 
well  whose  waters  cure  all  diseases.  Sometimes  they  marry 
country  lads,  but  they  will  not  permit  themselves  to  be  insulted 
or  reminded  of  their  descent. 

Woods  and  mountains  are  the  home  of  "Wild  Women" 
(Bohemian  Divozenky,  Lusatian  Dziwje  Zony,  Polish  Dziwo- 
zony,  Slovenian  Divje  Devojke,  Bulgarian  Divi-te  Zeni),  good- 
looking  beings  with  large,  square  heads,  long,  thick  hair 
(ruddy  or  black  in  colour),  hairy  bodies,  and  long  fingers. 
They  lived  in  underground  burrows  and  had  households  like 
mankind.  They  either  gathered  ears  in  the  fields  or  picked 
them  from  the  sheaves,  and  having  ground  the  grain  on  a 
stone,  they  baked  bread  which  spread  its  odour  throughout 
the  wood.  Besides  bread  they  ate  the  root  of  the  liquorice  and 
caught  game  and  fish.  They  were  fond  of  combing  hemp, 
which  they  wove  into  frocks  and  shirts. 

The  "Wild  Women"  knew  the  secret  forces  of  nature,  and 

from  plants   and   roots  they  prepared   unguents  with  which 

they  anointed  themselves,  thus  becoming  light  and  invisible. 

They  were  fond  of  music  and  singing;  and  storms  were  believed 

to  be  caused  by  their  wild  frolicking.    Lads  and  lasses  were 

invited  to  dance  with  them  and  afterward  reaped  rich  rewards. 

They  maintained  a  friendly  intercourse  with  human  beings, 

frequently   entering   their  villages   and   borrowing   kneading- 

troughs  and  other  necessaries.    Those  who  did  not  forget  to 

reserve  some  dish  for  them  were  well  repaid,  for  the  "Wild 

Women"  kept  their  houses  in  order,  swept  their  rooms  and 

courtyards,  cleared  their  firesides  of  ashes,  and  took  care  of 

their  children;  in  the  fields  they  reaped  the  corn,  and  gathering 

up  the  grain,  tied  it  into  sheaves ;  for  the  women  they  not  only 
III— 18 


264  SLAVIC  MYTHOLOGY 

spun  hemp,  but  also  gave  them  crops  that  never  diminished. 
Many  stories  are  told  about  their  marriages  with  country  lads. 
They  were  model  wives  and  housekeepers,  but  they  vanished 
if  any  one  called  them  "Wild  Women,"  and  uncleared  firesides 
or  unscrubbed  kneading-troughs  were  also  apt  to  drive  them 
away. 

They  were  dangerous  to  any  person  whom  they  might  meet 
alone  in  the  forest,  turning  him  round  and  round  until  he  lost 
his  way.  They  lay  in  wait  especially  for  women  who  had  just 
become  mothers  and  substituted  their  own  offspring  for  the 
human  children,  these  changelings,  called  Divous  ("Wild 
Brats")  or  Premiefi  ("Changelings"),  being  ugly,  squalling, 
and  unshapely.  The  "Wild  Women"  did  much  harm  to  avari- 
cious and  greedy  persons,  dragging  their  corn  along  the  fields, 
bewitching  their  cows,  and  afflicting  their  children  with  whoop- 
ing-cough, or  even  killing  them.  It  was  during  Midsummer 
Night  that  they  were  most  powerful. 

The  Lusatian  Serbs  believe  that  the  Dziwje  Zony  ("Wild 
Women")  are  white  beings  who  reveal  themselves  at  noon  or 
at  evening.  They  like  to  spin  hemp;  and  if  a  girl  spins  or 
combs  it  for  them,  they  reward  her  by  leaves  that  become 
gold. 

In  Polish  superstition  the  Dziwozony  are  superhuman 
females  with  cold  and  callous  hearts  and  filled  with  passionate 
sensuality.  They  are  tall  in  stature,  their  faces  are  thin,  and 
their  hair  is  long  and  dishevelled.  They  fling  their  breasts 
over  their  shoulders,  since  otherwise  they  would  be  hindered 
in  running;  and  their  garments  are  always  disarranged.  Groups 
of  them  go  about  woods  and  fields,  and  if  they  chance  upon 
human  beings,  they  tickle  the  adults  to  death,  but  take  the 
young  folk  with  them  to  be  their  lovers  and  playmates.  For 
this  reason  young  people  never  go  to  the  woods  alone,  but  only 
in  groups.  In  the  belief  of  the  Slovenians  the  Divje  Devojke, 
or  Dekle,  dwell  in  the  forests;  at  harvest-time  they  come  down 
to  the  fields  to  reap  the  corn,  and  the  "Wild  Men"  bind  it 


SILVAN   SPIRITS  265 

into  sheaves,  the  farmers'  wives  bringing  them  food  in  return. 
Where  they  came  from  no  one  can  tell,  and  the  cracking  of 
whips  has  driven  them  away  at  last.  The  Divja  Zena  is  a 
woman  of  tall  figure,  with  an  enormously  large  head  and  long 
black  hair,  but  very  short  feet;  she  dwells  in  mountain  caves. 
If  a  woman  does  not  nurse  her  child  properly,  the  "Wild 
Woman"  comes  and  either  substitutes  a  changeling  for  it  or 
carries  it  away. 

w 

The  Bulgarian  Diva-ta  Zena  lives  in  the  woods  and  Is  covered 
with  a  thick  coat  of  hair;  she  throws  her  long  breasts  over 
her  shoulders  and  thus  nurses  her  children.  She  is  strong  and 
savage,  and  her  enunciation  is  defective. 

More  rarely  mention  is  made  of  "Wild  Men."  They  live  in 
forests,  and  their  entire  bodies  are  covered  with  hair  or  moss, 
while  a  tuft  of  ferns  adorns  their  heads.  If  they  catch  a  young 
girl,  they  take  her  to  wife;  and  If  she  runs  away  from  them, 
they  tear  her  child  to  pieces.  They  appear  to  lonely  wanderers 
and,  accompanied  by  terrible  gusts  of  wind,  they  frighten 
them  and  lead  them  into  morasses.  The  "Wild  Men"  like  to 
tease  gamekeepers  and  forest-rangers  by  Imitating  the  hewing, 
sawing,  and  felling  of  trees;  and  they  chase  deer  in  the  woods, 
hooting  horribly  all  the  while.  In  Slovenian  tradition  the 
Divji  Moz  ("Wild  Man")  lived  In  a  deep  forest  cave  and  was 
possessed  of  terrible  strength.  The  peasants  of  the  neighbour- 
hood who  wished  to  avoid  being  harmed  by  him  had  to  carry 
food  to  the  cottage  that  was  nearest  his  cave;  but  he  was  well 
disposed  toward  the  peasants  who  cooked  their  meals  in  his 
hut  and  advised  them  how  to  set  to  work. 

Besides  these  silvan  spirits  there  are  similar  beings  of  various 
names.  The  ancient  Czechs  were  familiar  with  Jeze  and 
Jezenky  ("Lamias"),  who  were  said  to  have  the  faces  of 
women,  the  bodies  of  sows,  and  the  legs  of  horses.  People 
still  believe  In  Jezinky  who,  living  In  caves,  put  out  the  eyes 
of  human  beings  after  lulling  them  to  sleep,  and  who  kidnap 
small  children,  whom  they  feed  on  dainty  morsels  in  their 


266  SLAVIC  MYTHOLOGY 

caverns.  The  ancient  Poles,  too,  knew  of  them  and  still  tell 
stories  of  Jendzyna,  who  figures  in  popular  fairy-tales  as 
Jaga-baba,  Jezibaba,  Jendzibaba,  etc. 

In  Moravia  the  "Wild  Beings"  are  small  and  ungainly, 
live  in  fields,  and  may  transform  themselves  into  all  sorts  of 
animals.  Since  their  own  children  are  ugly,  they  steal  those  of 
mankind  and  treat  them  very  well;  but  the  changelings  whom 
they  foist  on  human  beings  are  hideous  and  bald,  with  huge 
heads  and  stomachs;  they  neither  grow  nor  talk,  but  eat  a 
great  deal,  whining  and  whimpering  constantly.  The  Slovaks 
have  their  Zruty,  or  Ozruti,  who  are  wild  and  gigantic  beings, 
living  in  the  wildernesses  of  the  Tatra  Mountains. 


CHAPTER   VIII 
FIELD-SPIRITS 

IN  the  fields  there  appears,  usually  at  the  time  of  harvest, 
the  Poludnica,  or  Polednica  ("Midday  Spirit").  According 
to  Bohemian  tradition  she  has  the  appearance  of  an  airy, 
white  lady,  or  of  an  old  woman  who  wanders  about  the  fields 
at  noon  and  haunts  the  dwellings  of  men.  She  also  floats, 
amid  violent  gusts  of  wind,  high  up  in  the  air;  and  whomsoever 
she  touches  will  die  a  sudden  death.  Sometimes  she  is  slight 
and  slim  like  a  girl  twelve  years  old  and  has  a  whip  in  her 
hand  with  which  she  strikes  any  one  who  crosses  her  path, 
such  a  man  being  doomed  to  meet  an  early  death. 

She  is  peculiarly  fond  of  ambushing  women  who  have  re- 
cently borne  children  and  who  go  out  into  the  street  at  midday. 
If  a  mother  leaves  her  child  alone  in  the  fields  at  harvest-time, 
it  may  be  stolen  by  a  Poludnica,  whence  crying  children  are 
hushed  by  the  threat  that  this  spirit  will  come  and  carry  them 
away. 

In  Moravia  the  Poludnica  is  represented  as  an  old  woman 
clad  in  a  white  gown  and  said  to  have  horses'  hoofs,  an  ugly 
face,  slanting  eyes,  and  dishevelled  hair. 

In  Polish  belief  the  Poludnica  (Poludniowka,  Przypotudnica) 
manifests  herself  in  the  shape  of  a  tall  woman,  dressed  in  a 
white  robe  reaching  to  her  feet,  and  carrying  a  sharp  sickle 
in  her  hand.  During  the  summer  she  stays  either  in  the  fields 
or  in  the  woods,  giving  chase  to  the  people  who  work  there. 
Frequently  she  propounds  hard  questions  to  them,  and  if 
they  are  unable  to  answer,  she  sends  grievous  maladies  upon 
them.    Sometimes  she  appears,  during  a   storm,  in  cottages; 


268  SLAVIC  MYTHOLOGY 

and  various  natural  phenomena,  such  as  the  fata  morgana, 
are  ascribed  to  her  by  the  peasants.  When  she  leaves  the 
fields  or  the  forests,  she  is  accompanied  by  seven  great  black 
dogs;  and  women  and  children  are  her  favourite  victims. 
Among  the  Lusatian  Serbs  the  Pripotdnica  (Prezpotdnica) 
is  the  subject  of  many  stories,  being  represented  either  as  a 
tall  old  woman  dressed  in  a  white  gown  and  carrying  a  sickle 
in  her  hand,  or  else  as  a  young  female.  Coming  out  of  the 
woods  at  midday,  she  appears  to  those  who  may  be  working 
there;  and  any  person  whom  she  meets  in  the  fields  at  that 
time  of  the  day  must  talk  with  her  for  fully  an  hour  about  one 
and  the  same  thing,  those  who  fail  to  do  this  either  forfeiting 
their  heads  or  having  some  illness  sent  upon  them.  Frequently 
she  herself  puts  questions  to  them,  e.  g.  concerning  the  growing 
of  fiax  and  hemp,  and  punishes  those  who  are  unable  to  answer. 
Her  most  usual  victims,  however,  are  young  women  who  either 
have  children  at  home  or  are  still  in  childbed.  At  noon  she 
guards  the  com  from,  thieves  and  punishes  children  who  tread 
upon  the  ears. 

The  Russians  believe  that  the  Poludnica  has  the  shape  of 
a  tall  and  beautiful  girl  dressed  in  a  white  gown.  She  not  only 
lures  small  children  into  the  corn,  but  walking  about  the 
fields  at  harvest-time,  she  seizes  the  heads  of  those  whom  she 
finds  working  there  at  midday,  and  twisting  their  necks,  causes 
them  violent  pain.  The  Siberian  Russians  picture  her  as  an 
old  woman  with  thick,  curly  hair  and  scanty  clothing;  she  lives 
among  the  reeds,  or  in  the  dense  thickets  of  nettles,  and  kid- 
naps naughty  children.  In  other  parts  of  Russia  she  appears 
as  guardian  of  fields. 

Besides  the  Poludnica  the  Russians  have  a  field-spirit 
named  Polevik  or  Polevoy  (cf.  Russian  pole,  "field")  who  is 
about  the  height  of  a  corn-stalk  until  harvest-time,  when  he 
shrivels  to  the  size  of  stubble.  He  runs  away  before  the  swing 
of  the  scythe  and  hides  among  the  stalks  that  are  still  standing; 
when  the  last  ears  are  cut,  he  gets  into  the  hands  of  the  reaper 


FIELD-SPIRITS  269 

and  Is  brought  to  the  barn  with  the  final  sheaf.  The  Polevik 
appears  at  noon  or  before  sunset;  and  at  that  time  It  is  unsafe 
to  take  a  nap  in  the  field,  for  the  Polevik,  roaming  about  on 
horseback,  will  ride  over  those  who  are  sleeping  there,  or  will 
send  disease  upon  them. 

The  White  Russians,  again,  tell  stories  about  the  Belun, 
an  old  man  with  a  long  white  beard  and  gown,  who  helps  the 
reapers  and  bestows  rich  presents  upon  them.  He  shows  him- 
self only  during  the  day  and  guides  aright  those  who  have  lost 
their  way. 


CHAPTER    IX 
WATER-SPIRITS 

A  SPIRIT  living  in  the  water  is  called  Vodyanik  or  Deduska 
Vodyanoy  ("Water-Grandfather")  by  the  Russians,  Vod- 
nik  by  the  Bohemians,  Vodeni  Moz  ("Water-Man")  by  the 
Slovenians,  Topielec  ("Drowner")  by  the  Poles,  etc.  He  is 
a  bald-headed  old  man  with  fat  belly  and  puffy  cheeks,  a 
high  cap  of  reeds  on  his  head,  and  a  belt  of  rushes  round  his 
waist.  He  can  transform  himself  in  many  ways,  and  when  in 
a  village,  he  assumes  the  form  of  a  human  being,  though  his 
true  nature  is  revealed  by  the  water  which  oozes  from  the  left 
side  of  his  coat.  He  lives  in  the  deeper  portions  of  rivers, 
brooks,  or  lakes,  mostly  in  the  neighbourhood  of  mills;  and 
there  he  possesses  stone-built  courtyards  in  which  he  keeps 
numerous  herds  of  horses,  cattle,  sheep,  and  pigs,  driving  them 
out  at  night  to  graze.  During  the  day  he  usually  lies  concealed 
in  deep  places,  but  rises  to  the  surface  at  night,  clapping  his 
hands  and  jumping  from  the  water  like  a  fish;  or  sometimes 
he  sits  on  the  mill-wheel,  combing  his  long  green  hair. 

The  Vodyanik  is  the  master  of  the  waters;  but  although  he 
is  endowed  with  terrible  strength  and  power  so  long  as  he  is 
in  the  water,  he  is  weak  when  on  dry  land.  He  likes  to  ride 
a  sheat-fish,  or  saddles  a  horse,  bull,  or  cow,  which  he  rides 
till  it  falls  dead  in  the  morasses.  All  that  happens  in  the 
waters  is  done  by  his  will.  When  in  good  humour,  he  drives 
the  fish  into  the  fisherman's  net  and  guides  sailors  to  safe 
places  in  stormy  weather;  but  when  his  mood  is  irritable,  he 
lures  them  to  dangerous  coasts  and  upsets  their  boats.  He 
tears  the  spikes  out  of  the  mill-wheels,  diverts  the  water  from 


WATER-SPIRITS  271 

its  course,  and  floods  the  mill;  and  if  the  miller  wishes  to 
succeed,  he  should  bury  some  living  being  in  the  foundations 
of  his  mill,  such  as  a  cow,  a  sheep,  or  even  a  man.  There  is 
also  a  wide-spread  belief  that  the  Vodyanik  drowns  those  who 
bathe  at  midday  or  at  midnight. 

The  Vodyanik  is  married  and  is  the  father  of  a  family,  being 
said  to  have  one  hundred  and  eleven  beautiful  daughters  who 
torture  and  torment  the  drowned.  He  marries  water-nymphs 
or  drowned  and  unhappy  girls  who  have  been  cursed  by  their 
fathers  or  mothers;  and  when  the  waters  of  a  river  or  a  lake 
overflow  their  banks,  he  is  believed  to  be  celebrating  his 
wedding,  for  on  that  occasion  he  is  apt  to  get  drunk,  to  make 
the  waters  rise,  and  to  tear  down  dikes,  bridges,  and  mills. 
When  his  wife  is  about  to  be  confined,  he  comes  to  the  villages 
in  human  shape  to  get  a  midwife  and  sponsors  whom  he  after- 
ward richly  rewards  with  gold  and  silver. 

He  likes  to  visit  markets,  and  his  appearance  foretells  the 
price  of  corn;  if  he  buys  dear,  there  will  be  a  bad  harvest,  if 
cheap,  a  good  crop  may  be  expected.  During  the  winter  he 
remains  in  his  dwelling;  and  in  early  spring,  when  he  wakes 
from  his  slumber,  he  is  hungry  and  troublesome,  breaking  the 
ice,  setting  the  waves  in  commotion,  and  frightening  the  fish. 
To  propitiate  him  a  horse,  smeared  with  honey,  is  sacrificed, 
and  for  three  days  he  impatiently  awaits  this  off"ering,  betraying 
his  greediness  by  making  the  waters  heave  and  by  howling 
dismally.  Fishermen  pour  butter  into  the  water  as  a  sacrifice 
to  him,  while  millers  kill  a  black,  well-fed  sow  and  offer  it  in 
his  honour  that  he  may  not  tear  down  their  dams  or  trouble 
their  sleep.  In  order  to  make  the  dam  durable  and  to  prevent 
the  Vodyanik  from  destroying  it  the  Ukranians  bury  a  horse's 
head  in  it. 

The  "Water-Nymphs"  (Vodni  Panny),  often  called  "White 
Women"  (Bile  Pani)  as  well,  are  tall,  sad,  and  pale,  and  are 
dressed  in  green,  transparent  robes.  They  live  under  the 
water  in  crystal  palaces  which  may  be  approached  by  paths 


272  SLAVIC  MYTHOLOGY 

strewn  with  gold  and  silver  gravel.  They  like  to  rock  on 
trees  and  lure  young  lads  by  their  wonderful  singing.  In  the 
evening  they  leave  their  hiding-places  and  betake  themselves 
to  villages  to  join  the  dancing  and  other  amusements  of  the 
village  folk.  A  water-nymph  who  has  been  captured  will 
help  people  wash  their  linen  and  tidy  their  rooms;  but  she 
will  disappear  if  presented  with  a  new  robe. 


CHAPTER   X 
SUN,  MOON,  AND  STARS 

EARLY  writers  mention  Slavic  sun-worship.  Arabian 
travellers  ^^  speak  of  the  Slavs  as  adoring  the  sun  and 
assert  that  many  renounced  the  Christian  faith,  preferring 
to  worship  the  sun  and  other  heavenly  bodies.  These  passages 
might  be  multiplied  considerably,  but  here  it  must  suffice  to 
note  that  an  old  Bohemian  homilist  records  ^^  that  the  pagan 
Czechs  not  only  worshipped  sun,  moon,  and  stars,  but  also 
adored  water,  fire,  mountains,  and  trees. 

We  have  no  detailed  accounts  to  tell  us  whether  the  ancient 
Slavs  possessed  real  solar  gods  which  were  represented  by  idols; 
and  it  is  only  among  the  pagan  Russians  that  the  existence 
of  a  god  of  the  sun  may  be  regarded  as  proved. ^'^ 

This  adoration  of  the  sun  implies  that  the  moon  likewise 
received  worship  from  the  Slavs.  There  was  a  wide-spread 
conviction  that  the  luminary  of  night  was  the  abode  of  the 
souls  of  the  departed;  and  later  she  came  to  be  regarded  as 
the  dwelling-place  of  sinful  souls  which  had  been  transported 
thither  by  way  of  punishment.  Popular  belief  still  ascribes 
to  the  moon  great  influence  upon  the  growth  and  development 
of  both  the  vegetable  and  the  animal  worlds. 

All  Slavs  maintain  that  there  is  a  close  relationship  between 
stars  and  men.  There  are  as  many  men  on  earth  as  there  are 
stars  in  the  sky.  At  his  birth  each  man  receives  a  star  of  his 
own;  and  when  his  end  is  drawing  near,  that  star  falls  to  earth, 
the  man  dies,  and  his  soul  floats  upward  to  the  clouds. 


PART   II 
THE    DEITIES    OF   THE    ELBE    SLAVS 


THE  DEITIES  OF  THE  ELBE  SLAVS 

THE  religion  o£  the  ancient  Slavs  was  not  restricted  to  a 
belief  in  genii,  but  was  further  developed  into  the  worship 
of  gods.  They  made  themselves  idols,  in  which  they  thought 
their  deities  were  embodied,  and  they  prayed  to  them. 

There  are  two  records  which  show  how  the  pagan  Slavs 
came  to  adopt  the  worship  of  one  chief  deity.  The  Greek 
historian  Procopius  writes  as  follows  concerning  Slavs  and 
Antae:^  "They  believe  that  there  is  one  single  god  who  is  the 
creator  of  the  lightning  and  the  sole  lord  of  all  things,  and 
to  him  they  sacrifice  cattle  and  all  sorts  of  animals.  .  .  . 
They  also  worship  rivers,  nymphs,  and  some  other  deities; 
they  sacrifice  to  all  and  foretell  the  future  in  these  offerings." 
A  similar  account  concerning  the  Elbe  Slavs  is  given  by  the 
chronicler  Helmold:^  "Among  the  multiform  divine  powers 
to  whom  they  ascribe  fields,  forests,  sorrows,  and  joys  they  do 
not  deny  that  one  god  rules  over  the  others  in  heaven  and  that 
he,  pre-eminent  in  might,  cares  only  for  things  celestial; 
whereas  the  rest,  obeying  the  duties  assigned  them,  have 
sprung  from  his  blood  and  enjoy  distinction  in  proportion  to 
their  nearness  to  that  god  of  gods." 

The  name  of  the  chief  god  of  the  Slavs  has  not  come  down  to 
us.  There  is,  however,  a  well-founded  belief  that  it  was  Svarog, 
who,  in  old  chronicles,  is  often  identified  with  Hephaistos;' 
and  we  have  more  certain  evidence  regarding  his  sons,  one  of 
whom  is  called  Dazbog,  and  the  other  Svarozic  ("Son  of 
Svarog").^  Lack  of  historical  data  renders  it  impossible  to 
say  what  gods  were  worshipped  by  the  Slavs  while  they  were 
still  living  in  their  ancient  homes  ;^  and  our  only  documents 


278  SLAVIC  MYTHOLOGY 

of  a  really  precise  character  concern  solely  the  religion  of  the 
Elbe  Slavs  and  the  Russians. 

For  the  idolatry  of  the  former  the  record  of  the  chronicler 
Thietmar  is  of  the  greatest  importance.  He  cays  ^  that  in 
those  regions  there  were  as  many  temples  as  there  were  dis- 
tricts, and  that  these  shrines  served  the  worship  of  their 
particular  demons. 


PLATE  XXXI 

SVANTOVIT 

This  statue,  supposed  to  represent  the  great 
Slavic  deity  Svantovit,  who  may  again  appear  in 
the  divinity  Triglav  (see  pp.  284-85),  was  found  in 
1848  near  the  river  Zbrucz  on  the  Russo-Galician 
frontier.  This  figure  may  be  contrasted  with  the 
modern  idealized  conception  of  the  god  shown  in 
Plate  XXXIV,  i. 


mc/iaat  sc 


CHAPTER   I 
SVANTOVIT 

AMONG  the  numerous  deities  of  the  Elbe  Slavs  the  most 
prominent  place  was  occupied  by  Svantovit.  The  centre 
of  his  worship  was  in  Arkona,  on  the  island  of  Riigen;  and  in 
the  middle  of  the  town,  which  towers  on  the  summit  of  a  lofty 
cliff,  stood  his  temple,  skilfully  built  of  wood  and  richly  adorned 
with  embossed  ornaments.  Within  the  sanctuary,  which  was 
enclosed  by  two  fences,  arose  a  gigantic  statue  of  Svantovit, 
surpassing  in  size  all  human  dimensions,  and  having  four 
necks  and  four  heads,  two  of  them  facing  in  front  and  two 
behind.  The  beard  was  shaved,  and  the  hair  was  cut  short, 
as  was  the  custom  among  the  people  of  Riigen.  In  the  right 
hand  was  a  horn  inlaid  with  various  metals,  and  this  was 
annually  filled  with  mead  by  a  priest  well  versed  in  the  cere- 
monies due  to  the  divinity,  the  harvest  of  the  following  year 
being  predicted  from  the  hquor.  The  left  hand  was  set  akimbo. 
The  mantle,  reaching  to  the  idol's  knees,  was  made  of  another 
sort  of  wood  and  was  so  closely  fitted  to  the  figure  that  even 
the  most  minute  observation  would  not  enable  one  to  tell 
where  it  was  joined.  The  legs  touched  the  floor,  and  the  base 
was  hidden  in  the  ground. 

Not  far  from  the  statue  lay  the  bridle  and  the  saddle  of  the 
god,  as  well  as  many  other  appurtenances  of  the  deity,  special 
attention  being  attracted  by  a  sword  of  wonderful  size,  whose 
edge  and  scabbard  were  richly  chased  and  damascened  with 
silver.  In  addition  to  all  this,  the  temple  contained  a  sacred 
flag  which  was  carried  in  front  of  the  .army  on  military  expedi- 
tions as  ensuring  victory. 
Ill — 19 


28o  SLAVIC  AIYTHOLOGY 

A  beautiful  white  horse  was  consecrated  to  Svantovit  and 
was  fed  and  groomed  by  the  head  priest,  to  whom  the  people 
of  Riigen  showed  the  same  respect  that  they  manifested  for 
the  king  himself.  They  believed  that  Svantovit,  mounted  on 
this  steed,  fought  those  who  opposed  his  worship;  and  in  the 
morning  the  horse  was  often  found  bathed  in  sweat  after 
having  been  ridden  during  the  night.  Success  or  failure  in 
weighty  projects  was  foretold  by  means  of  this  animal.  When- 
ever a  warlike  expedition  was  about  to  be  undertaken,  three 
rows  of  palings  were  erected  by  the  priests  in  front  of  the 
temple,  each  consisting  of  two  lances  thrust  into  the  ground 
with  a  third  lance  laid  across  the  top.  After  solemn  prayer, 
a  priest  brought  the  horse  to  the  palings;  if  it  stepped  across 
with  the  right  foot  first,  it  was  considered  a  favourable  omen, 
but  if  the  order  was  reversed,  the  enterprise  must  be  aban- 
doned. 

Since  Svantovit  was  more  famous  for  his  victories  and  more 
renowned  because  of  his  prophecies  than  any  other  divinity, 
he  was  held  in  high  honour  by  all  the  neighbouring  Slavs,  being 
regarded  as  the  god  of  the  gods;  compared  with  him,  the  other 
deities  were  but  demigods.  From  far  and  near  prophecies  were 
sought  from  him,  and  to  win  his  favour  the  neighbouring 
nations  sent  tribute  and  gifts  to  his  sanctuary.  Even  the 
Danish  King  Sueno,  though  a  Christian,  offered  a  precious 
goblet  to  him;  foreign  merchants  who  came  to  Riigen  were 
obliged  to  dedicate  a  part  of  their  merchandise  to  the  treasury 
of  his  temple  before  being  allowed  to  offer  their  wares  for 
sale;  and  every  year  a  captive  Christian  was  chosen  by  lot 
to  be  sacrificed  to  him. 

A  retinue  of  three  hundred  horsemen  was  set  aside  for  the 
service  of  Svantovit,  and  whatsoever  they  won  by  war  or  by 
freebooting  was  given  to  the  priest,  who  expended  It  in  the 
purchase  of  all  sorts  of  adornments  for  the  temple.  In  this 
way  treasure  of  Incredible  value,  Including  huge  quantities 
of  gold,  was  accumulated,  and  the  fame  of  the  shrine  spread 


PLATE  XXXII 
Festival  of  Svantovit 

This  much  modernized  conception  of  Svantovit's 
festival  may  be  compared  with  the  similar  idealiza- 
tion of  an  ancient  Slavic  sacrifice  in  Plate  XXXVI. 
After  a  painting  by  Alphons  Mucha. 


>ft<' 

'(^  ^ 

-      4 

*. 

SVANTOVIT  281 

far  and  wide,  while  so  numerous  were  its  old  and  precious 
vestments  that  they  were  rotting  with  age. 

When,  in  1168,  Valdemar,  the  Danish  King,  conquered 
Arkona  after  strong  resistance,  he  first  seized  the  treasure  of 
the  temple  and  then  ordered  the  destruction  of  the  sanctuary. 
A  vast  multitude  of  the  native  inhabitants  assembled,  expect- 
ing every  moment  that  Svantovit  would  annihilate  their 
enemies,  but  finally  even  his  statue  was  torn  down,  whereupon 
the  demon  is  said  to  have  left  it  in  the  shape  of  a  black  animal 
which  disappeared  before  the  eyes  of  the  spectators.  Then  the 
Danes,  casting  ropes  around  the  idol,  dragged  it  to  the  ground 
in  sight  of  the  Slavs;  and  at  last,  smashed  in  pieces,  it  was 
burned. 

Not  only  in  Arkona,  but  also  in  many  other  places,  there 
were  sanctuaries  of  Svantovit  which  were  under  the  care  of 
an  inferior  class  of  priests. 

Shortly  after  harvest  a  great  festival  was  held  in  honour  of 
Svantovit,  and  on  this  occasion  people  assembled  from  all 
quarters  of  the  island  of  Riigen  to  sacrifice  cattle  and  to  join 
in  the  rites.  On  the  day  before  the  ceremonies  began  the  sanctu- 
ary was  carefully  swept  by  the  priest,  who  alone  had  access 
to  it.  While  he  remained  inside,  he  was  very  careful  not  to 
breathe;  and  when  he  could  no  longer  hold  his  breath,  he 
hastened  to  the  door  lest  the  presence  of  the  deity  be  desecrated 
by  the  exhalation  of  a  mortal  man.  On  the  following  day, 
while  the  people  were  waiting  before  the  entrance,  the  priest 
took  the  vessel  from  the  hands  of  the  god  to  see  whether  the 
liquid  had  diminished  in  quantity;  if  such  was  the  case,  he 
foretold  a  bad  harvest  for  the  ensuing  year  and  advised  his 
hearers  to  reserve  some  grain  for  the  coming  time  of  dearth. 
Then,  having  poured  the  old  wine  at  the  feet  of  the  divinity 
by  way  of  sacrifice,  he  filled  the  vessel  again  and  offered  it  to 
the  deity,  asking  him  to  bestow  upon  himself  and  his  country 
all  the  good  things  of  this  earth,  such  as  victory,  increase  of 
wealth,  and  the  like.  When  the  prayer  was  finished,  he  emptied 


282  SLAVIC  M\THOLOGY 

the  cup  at  one  draught,  and  refilling  it  with  wine,  he  placed  it 
in  the  god's  right  hand. 

After  this  ceremony  a  festal  cake  was  brought  in,  flavoured 
with  honey  and  as  large  as  a  man.  Placing  it  between  himself 
and  the  people,  the  priest  asked  whether  he  was  visible  to 
them,  and  if  they  answered  in  the  affirmative,  he  expressed 
the  wish  that  they  might  not  see  him  next  year,  this  ceremony 
being  believed  to  ensure  them  a  better  harvest  for  the  coming 
season.  Finally,  when  he  had  admonished  them  to  do  dutiful 
homage  to  the  god  and  to  oflFer  to  him  sacrifices  which  would 
secure  them  victory  both  by  land  and  by  sea,  the  rest  of  the 
day  was  devoted  to  carousing,  and  it  was  considered  a  proof 
of  piety  If  a  man  became  drunk  on  this  occasion.^ 

The  festival,  as  described  above,  shows  a  remarkable  resem- 
blance to  the  autumnal  dziady  in  Russia,^  especially  to  those 
held  in  the  Government  of  Mohilev.  On  the  eve  of  the  dziady 
the  courtyard  is  carefully  cleaned  and  'put  in  order,  while  the 
women  scrub  the  tables,  benches,  vessels,  and  floor.  Lenten 
dishes  are  served  that  day,  and  on  the  following  morning  the 
women  cook,  bake,  and  fry  all  sorts  of  dishes,  at  least  twelve 
in  number.  One  of  the  men  takes  these  to  church;  and  when 
he  returns,  all  the  family  assemble  in  the  common  room,  the 
householder  boiling  a  drink  with  pepper,  while  his  wife  lays 
a  clean  cloth  on  the  table,  adjusts  the  icons,  lights  a  candle, 
and  puts  a  pile  of  cakes  on  the  table.  After  a  long  and  fervent 
prayer  the  family  sit  down,  and  the  farmer,  hiding  behind 
the  cakes  at  a  corner  of  the  table,  asks  his  wife,  who  sits  at 
the  extreme  farther  end  of  it,  "Can  you  see  me.'*"  whereupon 
she  answers,  "No,  I  cannot,"  his  reply  being,  "I  hope  you 
may  not  see  me  next  year  either."  Pouring  out  a  cup  of  vodka 
and  making  the  sign  of  the  cross,  he  now  invites  the  Dziadys 
to  partake  of  the  feast;  he  himself,  imitated  by  his  wife  and 
all  the  members  of  the  family,  empties  the  cup;  and  then 
they  eat  and  drink  till  they  can  do  so  no  longer. 

The   custom   of   foretelling   the   future   from   cakes    is    also 


SVANTOVIT  283 

preserved  among  the  White  Russians  In  Lithuania,  being 
performed  In  some  districts  at  the  harvest  feast,  whereas  in 
other  Slavic  countries  it  is  celebrated  on  Christmas  Eve. 

The  appellations  of  other  deities  worshipped  in  the  Island 
of  Riigen  were  closely  connected  with  the  name  of  Svantovit. 
In  the  sanctuary  of  the  town  of  Korenice  (the  modern  Garz) 
stood  a  colossal  oaken  idol,  called  Rugievit  (or  RInvit),  which 
was  so  high  that  Bishop  Absalon,  though  a  very  tall  man,  could 
scarcely  reach  its  chin  with  his  axe  when  he  was  about  to 
break  it  in  pieces.  The  image  had  one  head  with  seven  faces, 
seven  swords  hung  In  Its  belt,  and  it  held  an  eighth  blade  In  Its 
hand.^  Another  sanctuary  was  the  shrine  of  Porevit  (or 
Puruvit),  who  had  five  heads  and  was  unarmed  ;^°  and  worship 
was  also  given  to  Porenutius  (or  Poremltius),  whose  idol  had 
four  faces  and  a  fifth  in  its  breast;  its  left  hand  was  raised  to 
its  forehead,  and  its  right  touched  Its  chin.^^  The  Pomeranians 
in  Volegost  (Hologost)  worshipped  a  war-god  named  Gerovit 
(or  Herovit),  In  whose  sanctuary  hung  an  enormous  shield, 
skilfully  wrought  and  artistically  adorned  with  gold.  This 
was  carried  before  the  army  and  was  believed  to  ensure  victory; 
but  it  might  be  taken  from  Its  place  In  the  shrine  only  in  case 
of  war,  and  it  was  forbidden  for  mortal  hands  to  touch  it.^^ 

All  the  idols  just  considered  —  Rugievit,  Porevit,  Porenutius, 
and  Gerovit  —  seem  to  have  been  nothing  more  than  local 
analogues  of  the  chief  Elbe  deity,  Svantovit. 


CHAPTER   II 
TRIGLAV 

IN  the  town  of  Stettin  were  three  hills,  the  central  one  being 
dedicated  to  Triglav,  the  chief  local  deity.  This  idol  was  of 
gold  and  had  three  heads,  while  its  eyes  and  lips  were  covered 
with  a  golden  veil.  The  pagan  priests  declared  that  Triglav 
("Three-Heads")  was  tricephalous  because  he  wished  to  make 
it  known  that  he  ruled  over  three  realms,  i.  e.,  heaven,  earth, 
and  the  underworld;  and  he  covered  his  face  because  he  would 
not  see  the  sins  of  men. 

In  Stettin  were  four  temples,  the  most  important  of  which 
was  built  with  wonderful  skill.  On  the  inner  and  outer  sides 
of  the  walls  were  various  embossed  figures  of  men,  birds,  and 
animals,  so  well  made  that  they  seemed  to  live  and  breathe. 
Their  colour  was  always  fresh  and  durable,  and  could  be 
damaged  neither  by  rain  nor  by  snow.  According  to  the  cus- 
tom of  the  ancestors  one  tenth  of  all  booty  was  stored  in  the 
treasury  of  the  temple,  and  there  was,  moreover,  an  abundance 
of  gold  and  silver  vessels  used  by  the  chieftains  on  festive  occa- 
sions, as  well  as  daggers,  knives,  and  other  rare,  costly,  and 
beautiful  objects.  In  honour  of  and  in  homage  to  the  gods 
colossal  horns  of  wild  bulls,  gilded  and  adorned  with  precious 
stones,  were  kept  there,  some  serving  for  drinking-vessels, 
and  some  for  musical  instruments.  The  other  three  temples 
did  not  enjoy  so  high  a  reputation  and  were,  therefore,  less 
richly  ornamented.  They  contained  only  tables  and  chairs  for 
assemblies  and  meetings,  and  on  certain  days  and  at  certain 
hours  the  inhabitants  of  Stettin  gathered  there  to  eat,  drink, 
or  discuss  matters  of  importance. 


TRIGLAV  285 

A  horse  of  noble  stature  and  black  colour  also  played  a  part 
in  the  worship  of  Triglav.  No  mortal  man  was  allowed  to 
mount  this  steed,  and  it  was  used  in  divination  like  the  horse 
of  Svantovit.^^  In  front  of  the  temple,  whenever  a  warlike  ex- 
pedition was  about  to  be  undertaken,  the  priests  placed  nine 
lances  about  a  yard  apart.  The  head  priest  then  led  the  horse, 
adorned  with  a  gold  and  silver  saddle,  thrice  across  these 
lances;  if  he  stepped  over  without  touching  any  of  them,  it 
was  considered  a  favourable  omen,  and  the  expedition  was 
decided  upon. 

Another  idol  of  Triglav  stood  in  the  town  of  Wollin.  When 
Otto,  Bishop  of  Bamberg,  was  destroying  heathen  temples  and 
breaking  pagan  idols,  the  Slav  priests  are  reported  to  have 
taken  this  statue  secretly  and  to  have  given  it  to  a  woman 
living  in  a  lonely  place  in  the  country.  She  hid  it  in  the  hollow 
of  a  large  tree,  but  let  herself  be  deceived  by  a  German  who 
told  her  that  he  wished  to  thank  the  god  for  having  saved 
him  from  death  in  the  sea.  The  woman  then  showed  him  the 
idol,  but  being  unable  to  take  it  from  the  tree,  the  German 
stole  the  god's  old  saddle,  which  was  hanging  from  a  branch. 

Triglav's  statue  in  Stettin  was  broken  by  Bishop  Otto  him- 
self, and  its  head  was  sent  to  the  Pope.  The  pagan  temples 
were  burned  to  the  ground,  and  churches  were  built  in  honour 
of  St.  Ethelbert  and  St.  Peter  on  the  hill  that  had  once  been 
sacred  to  Triglav. 

Triglav  was  also  worshipped  by  the  Slavs  of  Brandenburg. 
When,  in  1154,  Prince  Pribyslav  of  that  country  was  baptized, 
he  ordered  "his  three-headed,  unholy,  and  ugly  statue"  to  be 
broken  in  pieces.^* 

It  is  practically  certain  that  Triglav  was  not  the  real  name 
of  the  god  worshipped  in  Wollin  and  Stettin,  but  merely  an 
appellation  of  one  of  his  idols  which  possessed  three  heads; 
and  since  the  cult  of  this  divinity  shows  a  striking  resemblance 
to  that  of  Svantovit,  it  may  be  assumed  that  Triglav  was 
merely  a  local  form  of  the  great  deity  of  the  Elbe  Slavs. ^^ 


CHAPTER   III 

SVARAZIC 

THE  Rhetarii,^®  a  division  of  the  Lutices  (between  the 
Elbe  and  the  Oder),  worshipped  a  god  named  Svarazic 
("  Son  of  Svarog"),  and  the  chronicler  Thietmar  testifies  ^^  that 
their  castle  of  Radigast  (Radgost)  contained  a  wooden  temple 
in  which  were  numerous  statues  of  divinities  made  by  the 
hands  of  men.  These  idols,  wearing  armour  and  helmets, 
struck  terror  into  those  who  beheld  them;  and  each  of  them 
had  his  name  carved  on  his  image.  The  most  important  of 
them  was  Svarazic  (Zuarasici),  whom  St.  Bruno,  the  apostle  of 
the  Prussians,  writing  to  Emperor  Henry  H,^^  terms  "Zuarasiz 
diabolus." 

Further  evidence  of  a  deity  worshipped  in  Radgost  is  given 
by  Adarh  of  Bremen  ^^  and  his  follower,  Helmold.^°  This  idol 
stood  in  a  spacious  sanctuary  among  other  gods,  was  made  of 
gold,  and  had  its  base  adorned  with  brocade.  It  wore  a  helmet 
resembling  a  bird  with  outstretched  wings,  and  on  its  breast 
was  the  head  of  a  black  bison,  the  national  emblem  of  the 
Rhetarii;  the  divinity's  right  hand  rested  on  this  symbol, 
while  the  left  grasped  a  double-edged  axe. 

When  Adam  of  Bremen  terms  this  Lutician  deity  "Radigast" 
or  "Redigast,"  he  seems  to  be  in  error  and  to  have  confused 
the  name  of  the  town  (Radigast)  with  the  divinity  worshipped 
there,  especially  as  the  older  evidence  shows  this  god  to  have 
been  Svarazic  himself,-' 

The  temple  of  Radigast  was  much  visited  by  all  the  Slavic 
nations   in  their  desire  to  avail  themselves  of  the  prophetic 


PLATE  XXXIII 

Radigast 

This  god  may  have  been  in  reality  only  a  form  of 
Svaraiic  and  the  special  patron  of  the  city  of  Radi- 
gast.   After  a  picture  by  N.  Ales. 


SVARAZIC  287 

power  of  the  gods  and  to  join  in  the  annual  festivities. 
Human  beings  were  likewise  sacrificed  there,  for  in  honour  of 
a  victory  won  in  1066  the  head  of  John,  Bishop  of  the  Diocese 
of  Mecklenburg,  who  had  been  captured  in  battle,  was  offered 
up  to  this  divinity. ^^ 


CHAPTER   IV 
CERNOBOG 

THE  evidence  of  Helmold  shows  ^^  that  at  banquets  the 
Slavs  were  wont  to  offer  prayer  to  a  divinity  of  good  and 
evil;  and  being  convinced  that  happiness  comes  from  the  god 
of  good,  while  misfortune  is  dispensed  by  the  deity  of  evil, 
they  called  the  latter  Cernobog  or  Zcernoboch  ("Black  God"). 

V 

The  conception  of  Cernobog  as  the  god  of  evil  in  contrast 
to  the  god  of  good  is  probably  due  to  the  influence  of  Chris- 
tianity. The  western  Slavs,  becoming  familiar,  through  the 
instrumentality  of  the  clergy,  with  the  ideas  of  the  new  faith 
and  with  its  conception  of  the  devil,  transferred  to  the  latter 
many  features  of  the  pagan  deities,  worshipping  him  as  a 
being  who  was  very  powerful  compared  even  with  the  god  of 
good.  He  was  regarded  as  the  cause  of  all  calamities,  and  the 
prayers  to  him  at  banquets  were  in  reality  intended  to  avert 
misfortunes. 


PLATE   XXXIV 

Idealizations  of  Slavic  Divinities 

I .    Svantovit 

This  modem  conception  of  the  great  deity  of  the 
Elbe  Slavs  (see  pp.  279-83)  should  be  compared  with 
the  rude  statue  supposed  to  represent  him  (Plate 
XXXI). 

V 

2.     ZiVA 

While  the  ancient  Slavs,  like  the  Baltic  peoples, 
worshipped   many   female   divinities,    the   name   of 

V 

only  one  of  them  has  been  preserved,  Ziva,  the  god- 
dess of  life. 

3.    Cernobog  and  Tribog 

V 

Cernobog,  or  "the  Black  God,"  was  the  Slavic 
deity  of  evil,  and  Tribog,  or  the  "Triple  God"  (cf.  the 
deity  Triglav,  pp.  284-85,  and  possibly  the  three- 
headed  deity  of  the  Celts,  Plates  VII,  XII),  is  re- 
garded by  later  sources  as  the  divinity  of  pestilence. 

After  pictures  by  N.  Ales. 


BPiOiii 


>.^  ■> 


iaiA 


CHAPTER  V 
OTHER   DEITIES 

IN  addition  to  the  deities  mentioned  above,  the  names  of 
other  divinities  of  the  Elbe  Slavs  have  come  down  to  us, 
although  wd  possess  no  details  concerning  them. 

Pripegala  is  mentioned  in  a  pastoral  letter  of  Archbishop 
Adelgot  of  Magdeburg  in  iioS,^*  where  he  is  compared  with 
Priapus  and  Baal-peor  (the  Beelphegor  of  the  Septuagint  and 
Vulgate). 2^  This  comparison,  however,  seems  to  have  no 
foundation  except  the  similar  sound  of  the  syllables  pri  and 
p{h)eg. 

The  Idol  Podaga  is  mentioned  by  Helmold,^^  while  the  names 
of  Turupid,  Pisamar  (Besomar.''),  and  Tiernoglav  (Triglav.'') 
occur  in  the  Knytlingasaga}'^ 

The  Elbe  Slavs  worshipped  goddesses  as  well  as  gods,  and 
Thietmar  not  only  states  ^^  that  the  walls  of  the  temples  in 
Riedegast  (Radgost)  were  adorned  with  various  figures  of 
deities  both  male  and  female,  but  elsewhere  ^^  he  tells  how  the 
Lutices  angrily  resented  an  affront  done  to  a  goddess.  The 
only  female  divinity  actually  mentioned  by  name,  however,  is 
Siva  (=Ziva,  "the  Living"),  the  Zywie  of  Polish  mythology, 
whom  Helmold  ^°  calls  goddess  of  the  Polabians. 


PART   III 
THE    DEITIES    OF    THE    PAGAN    RUSSIANS 


CHAPTER   I 
PERUN 

THE  chief  god  of  the  pagan  Russians  was  Perun,  whose 
wooden  idol,  set  by  Prince  Vladimir  on  a  hill  before  his 
palace  at  Kiev  in  980,  had  a  silver  head  and  a  golden  beard. 
Vladimir's  uncle,  Dobrynya,  erected  a  similar  image  in  Nov- 
gorod on  the  river  Volkhov,  and  the  inhabitants  of  the  city 
sacrificed  to  it.^ 

Perun  was  held  in  high  honour  by  the  Russians.  In  his  name 
they  swore  not  to  violate  their  compacts  with  other  nations, 
and  when  Prince  Igor  was  about  to  make  a  treaty  with  the 
Byzantines  in  945,  he  summoned  the  envoys  in  the  morning 
and  betook  himself  with  them  to  a  hill  where  Perun's  statue 
stood.  Laying  aside  their  armour  and  their  shields,  Igor  and 
those  of  his  people  who  were  pagans  took  a  solemn  oath  be- 
fore the  god  while  the  Christian  Russians  did  likewise  in  the 
church  of  St.  Iliya  (EHas),-  the  formula  directed  against  those 
who  should  violate  the  treaty  being,  "Let  them  never  receive 
aid  either  from  God  or  from  Perun;  let  them  never  have  pro- 
tection from  their  shields;  let  them  be  destroyed  by  their  own 
swords,  arrows,  and  other  weapons;  and  let  them  be  slaves 
throughout  all  time  to  come."  ^ 

In  many  old  Russian  manuscripts  of  the  twelfth,  fourteenth, 
fifteenth,  and  sixteenth  centuries  mention  is  made  of  Perun  in 
connexion  with  other  Slavic  deities,  such  as  Chors,  Volos,  Vila, 
Rod,  and  Rozanica,^  but  nothing  certain  is  known  about  his 
worship. 

When  Prince  Vladimir  received  baptism  in  988,  he  went  to 
Kiev  and  ordered  all  idols  to  be  broken,  cut  to  pieces,  or  thrown 


294  SLAVIC  MYTHOLOGY 

into  the  iire.  The  statue  of  Perun,  however,  was  tied  to  a 
horse's  tail  and  was  dragged  down  to  a  brook  where  twelve 
men  were  ordered  to  beat  it  with  rods,  not  because  the  wood 
was  believed  to  feel  any  pain,  but  because  the  demon  which 
had  deceived  men  must  be  disgraced.  As  the  idol  was  taken 
to  the  Dnieper,  the  pagans  wept,  for  they  had  not  yet  been 
baptized;  but  when  it  was  finally  thrown  into  the  river,  Vladi- 
mir gave  the  command:  "If  it  stops,  thrust  it  from  the  banks 
until  it  has  passed  the  rapids;  then  let  it  alone."  This  order 
was  carried  out,  and  no  sooner  had  the  idol  passed  through  the 
rapids  than  it  was  cast  upon  the  sands  which  after  that  time 
were  called  "Perun's  Sands"  {Perunya  Ken).  Where  the  image 
once  stood  Vladimir  built  a  church  in  honour  of  St.  Basil;  ^ 
but  it  was  not  until  the  end  of  the  eleventh  century  that 
Perun's  worship  finally  disappeared  from  the  land. 

Similarly  the  pagan  idols  of  Novgorod  were  destroyed  by 
Archbishop  Akim  Korsunyanin  in  989,  and  the  command  went 
forth  that  Perun  should  be  cast  into  the  Volkhov.  Binding  the 
image  with  ropes,  they  dragged  it  through  the  mire  to  the  river, 
beating  it  with  rods  and  causing  the  demon  to  cry  out  with 
pain.  In  the  morning  a  man  dwelling  on  the  banks  of  the 
Pidba  (a  small  stream  flowing  into  the  Volkhov)  saw  the  idol 
floating  toward  the  shore,  but  he  thrust  it  away  with  a  pole, 
saying,  "Now,  Perunisce  ['Little  Perun,'  a  contemptuous 
diminutive],  you  have  had  enough  to  eat  and  to  drink;  be  off 
with  you!"  ^ 

The  word  "Perun"  is  derived  from  the  root  per-  ("to  strike") 
with  the  ending  -ww,  denoting  the  agent  of  an  action;  and 
the  name  is  very  appropriate  for  one  who  was  considered  the 
maker  of  thunder  and  lightning,  so  that  Perun  was,  in  the  first 
place,  the  god  of  thunder,  "the  Thunderer,"  like  the  Zeus  of 
the  Greeks.^  The  old  Bulgarian  version  of  the  Alexander- 
romance  actually  renders  the  Greek  Zeu<?  by  Perun;  and  in 
the  apocryphal  Dialogue  of  the  Three  Saints  Vasiliy,  when 
asked,    "By   whom   was   thunder   created?"   replies,    "There 


PERUN  295 

are  two  angels  of  thunder:  the  Greek  Perun  and  the  Jew 
Chors,"  thus  clearly  pointing  to  the  former  as  the  originator 
of  thunder.^ 

Though  history  proves  only  that  the  worship  of  Perun 
existed  among  the  Russians,  there  are,  nevertheless,  data  to 
show  that  It  was  known  among  other  Slavs  as  well,  the  most 
important  evidence  being  the  fact  that  the  word  perun  Is  a 
very  common  term  for  thunder  {pjeron,  pioru7i,  parom,  etc.). 
In  addition  to  this  numerous  local  names  in  Slavic  countries 
remind  us  of  Perun.  In  Slovenia  there  is  a  Perunja  Ves  and  a 
Perunji  Ort;  in  Istria  and  Bosnia  many  hills  and  mountains 
go  by  the  name  of  Perun;  In  Croatia  there  Is  a  Peruna  Dubrava, 
and  In  DalmatIa  a  mountain  called  Perun;  while  a  Perin 
Planlna  occurs  In  Bulgaria.  Local  names,  such  as  Peruny  and 
Piorunow  in  Poland,  Perunov  Dub  in  Little  Russia,  or  Perun 
and  Peron  among  the  Elbe  Slavs,  are  further  proof  that  not 
only  the  name,  but  also  the  worship,  of  Perun  was  known  In 
these  regions.  It  is  even  believed  that  some  appellations  of 
the  pagan  deities  of  the  Elbe  Slavs,  such  as  Porenutlus,  Prone, 
Proven,  etc.,^  may  be  closely  connected  with  Perun,  being,  in 
fact,  merely  corruptions  of  the  original  name,  due  to  foreign 
chronicles;  and  In  this  connexion  special  attention  should  be 
called  to  Helmold's  mention  ^°  of  a  great  oak  grove  on  the  way 
from  Stargard  to  Liibeck  as  sacred  to  the  god  Proven. 

In  the  Christian  period  the  worship  of  Perun  was  trans- 
ferred to  St.  Illya  (Ellas) ;  "  and,  as  we  have  already  seen,^^ 
Nestor  tells  how  the  Christian  Russians  took  oath  in  the 
church  of  St.  Illya,  while  the  pagans  swore  by  Perun.  On 
July  20  St.  niya's  Day  is  kept  with  great  reverence  in  Russia 
to  the  present  time;  in  some  places  they  still  cling  to  the  an- 
cient custom  of  preparing  a  feast  and  slaughtering  bulls, 
calves,  lambs,  and  other  animals  after  consecrating  them  in 
church;  and  it  is  considered  a  great  sin  not  to  partake  of  such 
banquets. 

The  Serbians  call  St.  Illya  Gromovnik  or  Gromovit  ("the 


III — 20 


296  SLAVIC  MYTHOLOGY 

Thunderer")  and  pray  to  him  as  the  dispenser  of  good  har- 
vests. Among  the  Southern  Slavs  Tlijevo,  Tlinden  ("St. 
Iliya's  Day")  is  most  reverently  celebrated;  no  man  does 
any  work  in  the  fields  at  that  time,  and  no  woman  thinks  of 
weaving  or  spinning.  He  who  dared  to  labour  then  would 
make  St.  Iliya  angry  and  could  not  expect  him  to  help  in 
garnering  the  crops;  on  the  contrary,  the  Saint  would  slay 
him  with  his  thunderbolt.  In  the  Rhodope  Mountains  the 
festival  is  kept  on  a  lofty  summit,  and  a  bull  or  a  cow  is  killed 
and  prepared  for  the  solemn  banquet.  All  this  is  doubtless 
nothing  less  than  a  survival  of  the  feasts  that,  long  before, 
were  celebrated  in  honour  of  Perun.^' 


CHAPTER   II 
DAZBOG 

THE  statue  of  the  divinity  Dazbog,  or  Dazdbog,  whose 
name  probably  means  "the  Giving  God,"  ^^  stood  on  a 
hill  in  the  courtyard  of  the  castle  at  Kiev,  and  beside  it  were 
the  idols  of  Perun,  Chors,  Stribog,  and  other  pagan  deities. ^^ 
In  old  chronicles  Dazbog  is  termed  "Czar  Sun"  and  "Son  of 
Svarog;"  ^^  and  the  fact  that  early  Russian  texts  frequently 
translate  the  name  of  the  Greek  god  Helios  ^"^  by  Dazbog  ^^ 
may  be  taken  as  proof  that  he  was  worshipped  as  a  solar  deity. 
In  the  old  Russian  epic  Slovo  o  pluku  Igoreve  ^^  Vladimir  and 
the  Russians  call  themselves  the  grandchildren  of  Dazbog, 
which  is  easily  explicable  since  the  ancient  Slavs  often  derived 
their  origin  from  divine  beings. ^° 

Dazbog  was  known  not  only  among  the  Russians,  but  also 
among  the  Southern  Slavs;  and  his  memory  is  preserved  in 
the  Serbian  fairy-tale  of  Dabog  (Dajbog),  in  which  we  read, 
"Dabog,  the  Czar,  was  on  earth,  and  the  Lord  God  was  in 
heaven,"  ^^  Dabog  being  here  contrasted  with  God  and  being 
regarded  as  an  evil  being,  since  in  early  Christian  times  the 
old  pagan  deities  were  considered  evil  and  devilish. 


CHAPTER   III 
SVAROZIC  AND  SVAROG 

O  VAROZIC  was  worshipped  by  the  Russians  as  the  god  of 
k3  fire;  ^^  and  his  name,  being  a  patronymic,  means  "Son  of 
Svarog."  2^  This  latter  deity,  however,  is  actually  mentioned 
only  in  an  old  Russian  chronicle  ^^  which  identifies  him  with 
the  Greek  Hephaistos  ^^  and  speaks  of  him  as  the  founder  of 
legal  marriage.  According  to  this  text,  Svarog  made  it  a  law 
for  every  man  to  have  only  one  wife,  and  for  every  woman  to 
have  only  one  husband;  and  he  ordained  that  whosoever  tres- 
passed against  this  command  should  be  cast  into  a  fiery  fur- 
nace —  a  tradition  which  seems  to  imply  the  importance  of 
the  fire  (fireside,  hearth)  for  settled  family  life. 

That  Svarazic,  worshipped  by  the  Elbe  Slavs,^^  had  the 
same  signification  as  the  Russian  Svarozic  may  be  considered 
very  probable,  though  the  identity  is  not  yet  fully  established. ^^ 


CHAPTER   IV 
CHORS 

AMONG  the  Idols  which  Vladimir  erected  in  Kiev  mention 
is  made  of  the  statue  of  Chors  (Chers,  Churs,  Chros).^^ 
Nothing  certain  is  known  about  the  functions  of  this  deity; 
but  since  old  Slavic  texts  ^^  seem  to  identify  him  with  the 
Greek  Apollo,^°  he  is  supposed  to  have  been  a  god  of  the  sun, 
this  hypothesis  being  supported  by  a  passage  in  the  Slovo  o 
pluku  Igoreve  ^^  which  tells  how  Prince  Vsevolod  outstripped 
great  Chors  (I.  e.  the  sun)  Hke  a  wolf. 

There  is  no  explanation  for  the  word  Chors  in  Slavic,  and 
the  name  is  apparently  of  foreign  origin.  The  most  plausible 
supposition  Is  that  It  comes  from  the  Greek  'x^pva6<i  ("gold"), 
so  that  originally  It  may  have  been  simply  the  name  of  a 
golden  or  gilt  idol  ^^  erected  in  Kiev  and  probably  representing 
Dazbog.  If  this  be  so,  Chors  and  Dazbog  were,  In  all  likelihood, 
merely  different  names  applied  to  one  and  the  same  deity. 


CHAPTER  V 
VELES,  VOLOS,  AND  STRIBOG 

VELES,  the  god  of  flocks,  was  held  in  high  honour  by  the 
Russians,  who  swore  by  him  as  well  as  by  Perun  when 
making  a  treaty;  ^^  and  old  Russian  texts  often  mention  him  in 
connexion  with  the  more  famous  divinity.^*  When  Vladimir 
was  baptized  in  988,  he  caused  the  idols  of  Veles  to  be  thrown 
into  the  river  Pocayna;^^  another  stone  statue  of  the  same  deity, 
worshipped  by  the  Slavic  tribes  in  the  neighbourhood  of  Fin- 
land, was  destroyed  by  Abraham  of  Rostov,  who  preached  Chris- 
tianity on  the  banks  of  the  Volga  in  the  twelfth  century;  ^^  and 
the  Slovo  0  pluku  Igoreve^''  calls  the  minstrel  Boyan  "the  grand- 
son of  Veles." 

The  memory  of  Veles  still  lives  among  the  Russian  people. 
In  southern  Russia  it  is  customary  at  harvest-time  to  tie  the 
last  handful  of  ears  Into  a  knot,  this  being  called  "plaiting  the 
beard  of  Veles"  or  "leaving  a  handful  of  ears  for  Veles's 
beard";  and  in  some  districts  a  piece  of  bread  is  put  among 
such  ears,  probably  as  a  reminiscence  of  the  sacrifices  ofl"cred 
to  Veles. 

Veles  was  well  known  among  the  ancient  Bohemians  like- 
wise, and  his  name  frequently  occurs  in  old  Bohemian  texts, 
although  its  original  meaning  has  so  utterly  disappeared  that 
the  word  now  signifies  simply  "the  devil."  ^^ 

After  the  introduction  of  Christianity  the  worship  of  Veles 
was  transferred  to  St.  Blasius,  a  shepherd  and  martyr  of 
Caesarea  in  Cappadocia,  whom  the  Byzantines  called  the  guar- 
dian of  flocks. ^^  In  this  capacity  the  saint  is  still  venerated  in 
Russia,  Bulgaria,  and  even  in  Bohemia;  and  the  shepherds, 


PLATE  XXXV 

Veles 

This  deity  of  flocks  corresponds  to  the  Ganyklos 
(D^vas),  or  "(God)  of  Pasture,"  of  the  pagan 
Lithuanians.  This  representation,  from  a  picture 
by  N.  Ales,  is  highly  idealized  (cf.  his  conception 
of  Svantovit,  Plate  XXXIV,  i,  as  contrasted  with 
the  ancient  statue  reproduced  in  Plate  XXXI). 


VELES,   VOLOS,   AND    STRIBOG  301 

when  driving  their  floclis  to  pasture,  recite  ancient  prayers 
which  are  expected  to  secure  his  protection.^" 

Stribog,  whose  idol  stood  on  the  hill  in  Kiev  beside  that  of 
Perun,^^  was  most  probably  the  god  of  cold  and  frost;  and  in 
the  Slovo  0  pluku  Igoreve  ^^  the  winds  are  called  the  grandsons 
of  Stribog.  The  conception  of  the  winds  as  the  result  of  cold 
and  frost  is  easily  understood. 

The  chronicler  Cosmas  testifies  "^^  that  the  Bohemians  wor- 
shipped deities  similar  to  Jupiter,  Mars,  Bellona,  Ceres,  etc., 
and  that  they  made  idols  of  them;  but  the  names  of  these 
gods  have  not  been  preserved,  and  nothing  positive  is  known 
concerning  their  worship.  Numerous  names  of  divinities  wor- 
shipped by  the  pagan  Poles  are  recorded  by  the  chronicler 
Dlugosz,^^  but  his  report,  belonging  to  a  later  period,  seems  to 
be  influenced  by  Classical  and  Christian  thought. 


PART   IV 
CULT   AND    FESTIVALS 


PLATE  XXXVI 

Ancient  Slavic  Sacrifice 

Idealized  representation  of  a  Slavic  priest  in- 
voking a  divinity.  Cf.  another  modem  artist's 
conception  of  the  festival  of  Svantovit  in  Plate 
XXXII.    After  a  picture  by  N.  Ales. 


PLATE  XXXVII 

The  Sacred  Oak  of  Romowe 

The  great  centre  of  the  cult  of  the  ancient  Prus- 
sians was  at  Romowe,  a  place  of  uncertain  localiza- 
tion. Here  lived  the  head  priest,  the  Kriwe,  and 
here  a  perpetual  fire  was  maintained.  According  to 
the  historian  Simon  Grunau,  who  wrote  in  the  early- 
part  of  the  sixteenth  century,  a  triad  of  gods  — 
Perkunas,  Potr>'mpus,  and  Patollus,  deities  of  thunder 
(see  pp.  293,  319,  325),  rivers  and  springs  (and  hence 
of  vegetation  and  good  fortune),  and  of  the  under- 
world respectively  —  received  adoration  in  this 
place.  His  conception  is  here  reproduced  (cf.  his 
Preussische  Chronik,  H.  v.  2).  In  the  oak,  which 
remained  green  summer  and  winter,  and  which  was 
screened  from  profane  gaze,  were  the  idols  of  the 
gods,  each  with  his  emblem  before  him:  the  head  of 
a  man,  a  horse,  and  a  cow  before  Patollus;  a  perpetual 
fire  of  oak  before  Perkunas  (cf.  Part  HI,  Note  10  on 
the  oak  as  his  sacred  tree);  and  a  pot  containing  a 
serpent,  carefully  fed  by  the  priests,  before  Potrym- 
pus  (the  cult  of  the  household  snake,  probably  the 
harmless  common  ringed  snake  of  Europe,  was  an 
important  part  of  ancient  Baltic  religion).  In  the 
open  spaces  are  piles  of  wood  for  the  sacred  fire,  and 
the  houses  of  the  Waidelots,  or  ordinary  priests, 
surround  the  whole.  We  have,  however,  no  evi- 
dence that  the  ancient  Prussians  possessed  idols 
of  their  gods,  and  in  many  respects  the  statements 
of  Grunau  are  open  to  grave  doubt.  After  a  picture 
in  C.  Hartknoch,  Selectae  dissertationes  historical  de 
variis  rebus  Prussicis,  appended  to  his  edition  of 
the  Chronicon  Prussiae  of  Peter  of  Dusburg  (Frank- 
fort and  Leipzig,  1679). 


CHAPTER   I 
WORSHIP  OF  THE  GODS 

SACRIFICES  of  animals,  grain,  and  food  were  offered  to  the 
gods  and  genii;  and  in  time  of  war  captives  were  slaugh- 
tered in  their  honour,^  These  sacrifices  were  performed  by 
fathers  of  families,  by  chieftains  of  clans,  and  by  princes; 
but  the  existence  of  a  special  and  highly  developed  priesthood 
is  proved  only  among  the  Elbe  Slavs,  where  the  head  priest 
received  the  same  honour  as  the  king  himself.^ 

The  Elbe  Slavs  worshipped  their  idols  ^  in  temples  adorned 
with  great  taste  and  splendour;  ^  and  in  addition  to  this, 
trees  and  groves  were  consecrated  to  the  gods,  both  among 
the  Elbe  Slavs  and  among  the  Russians.^  Such  a  svatobor,  for 
example,  was  on  the  island  of  Riigen;^  while  between  Star- 
gard  and  Lubeck  stretched  a  great  oak  grove,  guarded  by  a 
wooden  fence  provided  with  two  gates.  This  grove  was  full 
of  idols  in  whose  honour  sacrifices  and  feasts  were  held;  and 
whoever  concealed  himself  there  when  threatened  by  death 
was  considered  inviolable,  being  under  the  protection  of  the 
gods.''  In  Bohemia  it  was  not  until  1092,  in  the  reign  of 
Bfetislav  II,  that  the  sacred  groves,  held  in  high  honour  by 
the  people,  were  hewn  down  and  burned.^  The  pagan  Rus- 
sians, so  far  as  historical  evidence  goes,  did  not  build  special 
temples  for  their  gods,  but  erected  their  idols  in  the  open  on 
slopes  and  hills. ^  Besides  trees  and  groves,  sanctity  also  at- 
tached to  mountains, ^°  as  well  as  to  rivers  and  fountains. ^^ 

Among  the  annual  festivals,  that  of  Svantovit  in  Arkona, 
which  reminds  us  of  the  autumnal  dziadys,^^  is  described  at 
considerable  length, ^^  whereas  the  other  feasts,  which  in  the 


3o6  SLAVIC  MYTHOLOGY 

main  consisted  of  games,  dancing,  and  carousing,  are  dis- 
missed with  brief  remarks.  In  April  the  Slavs  on  the  banks  of 
the  Havola  (Havel)  used  to  celebrate  a  national  festival  in 
honour  of  Gerovit;  ^^  in  Wollin  the  populace  assembled  for  a 
pagan  festival  in  early  summer;  ^^  and  in  1092  Bretislav  sup- 
pressed certain  feasts  observed  about  Whitsuntide,  when 
oblations  were  offered  to  springs. ^^ 

Popular  tradition,  however,  still  preserves  many  customs 
and  ceremonies  whose  origin  may  be  traced  back  to  the  pre- 
Christian  period;  and  these  we  shall  briefly  consider  in  our 
concluding  chapters. 


CHAPTER   II 
THE  KOLEDA 

THE  word  koleda  {koleda)  is  derived  from  the  Latin  calendae 
("first  day  of  the  month " ;  borrowed  in  Greek  as  KaXdvhat) 
and  denotes  certain  days  at  Christmas  ^''  and  Easter  when 
children  go  from  house  to  house,  singing  songs  and  expecting 
all  sorts  of  small  presents  In  return.  During  the  Middle  Ages 
the  festa  calendarum  was  celebrated  almost  everywhere  in 
Europe  with  pageants,  games,  songs,  mummlngs,  and  the 
like. 

Besides  the  word  koleda  there  are  a  number  of  other  names 
for  the  principal  days  of  Christmastlde  which  are  worth  men- 
tioning. In  Russia  Christmas  Eve  is  called  Kutiya,  or  Kuccya 
(Polish  Kucyja) ;  the  day  preceding  New  Year  Is  "  Rich  Kutiya," 
and  that  before  Twelfth  Night  is  "Hungry  Kutiya,"  since  meat 
is  eaten  on  the  former,  while  lenten  dishes  are  preferred  on  the 
latter.  In  similar  fashion  the  Letts  term  Christmas  Eve  Kukju 
Vakar,  and  the  Lithuanians  call  it  Kuclu  Vakaras.  The  word 
Kutiya,  Kuccya,  etc.,  is  derived  from  the  name  of  the  dish 
which,  in  addition  to  many  others,  is  prepared  on  that  day. 
Among  the  White  Russians  it  is  a  sort  of  pudding  composed 
of  barley  groats  and  honey;  the  Little  Russians  make  it  of 
wheat  groats,  pounded  poppy  seeds,  and  honey;  the  Lithuanians 
prepare  It  of  peas  and  wheat,  or  of  barley  and  beans;  the  Letts 
of  peas  and  honey,  etc.  The  other  Slavs  likewise  have  similar 
names  for  the  holiday  dinners  on  Christmas  Eve. 

Before  supper  the  farmer  walks  about  the  house  carrying 
the  kutiya,  while  his  wife,  having  tidied  up  the  room  with  the 
help  of  her  servants,  spreads  some  hay  over  the  table,  and  lay- 


3o8  SLAVIC  MYTHOLOGY 

ing  the  cloth,  places  on  It  the  food  prepared  for  the  evening 
meal.  The  master  of  the  house  then  says  grace  and  brings  to 
remembrance  those  of  the  family  who  happen  not  to  be  pres- 
ent, after  which  all  sit  down,  the  head  of  the  household  tak- 
ing his  place  in  a  corner  under  the  icons.  Before  beginning  to 
eat,  the  householder  pours  out  a  cup  of  vodka,  and  letting  a 
few  drops  fall  upon  the  cloth,  he  empties  it,  whereupon  all  the 
others  do  the  same.  During  the  meal  a  portion  of  the  food  is 
set  aside  for  the  deceased,  and  finally  the  kutiya  is  served. 
After  supper  all  rise,  the  master  of  the  house  alone  keeping  his 
seat  and  hiding  behind  his  pot  of  kutiya  as  he  asks  his  wife 
whether  she  sees  him.^^  Many  other  prophecies  concerning 
the  coming  harvest  and  the  prospects  of  cattle-breeding  are 
attempted;  and  the  girls,  in  like  manner,  tell  their  fortunes, 
the  kutiya  playing  an  important  role  in  all  these  ceremonies. 
The  hay  placed  under  the  kutiya  and  beneath  the  cloth  on  the 
table  is  given  to  the  animals  kept  in  the  house;  and  the  fire  is 
kept  burning  constantly  on  the  hearth.  It  is  considered  im- 
proper to  do  heavy  work  on  this  day,  when  various  disguises 
are  assumed,  and  village  friends  are  visited,  while  in  the  even- 
ing the  young  people  meet  to  play  various  games,  of  which 
dancing  and  singing  are  important  features. 

The  Southern  Slavs  call  Christmas  Eve  Badnji  Dan, 
Badnjak,  or  Budnik  ("Vigil"),  hadnjak  or  budnik  being  also 
the  log  of  wood  which  is  burned  on  the  hearth.  Various 
ancient  customs  connected  with  these  festivities  are  still  in 
vogue. 

Before  sunrise  either  the  head  of  the  house  or  some  other 
member  of  the  family  goes  to  the  forest  in  search  of  a  tree, 
either  oak,  beech,  or  ash,  which  will  serve  his  purpose;  and 
after  all  preparations  have  been  made  for  the  dinner,  doffing 
his  cap,  he  carries  the  hadnjak  into  the  room.  During  this  rite 
he  clucks  like  a  hen,  while  all  the  children,  who  stand  in  a  row 
behind  him,  cheep  like  chickens.  Passing  through  the  door,  on 
either  side  of  which  candles  are  burning,  he  walks,  with  the 


THE    KOLEDA  309 

badnjak  in  his  hands,  into  every  corner  of  the  room,  saluting 
the  members  of  the  household,  who  throw  corn  upon  him. 
Then  he  lays  the  badnjak  and  a  ploughshare  by  the  fireside,  to- 
gether with  some  honey,  butter,  and  wine,  as  well  as  a  portion 
of  every  dish  prepared  for  supper;  and  finally  he  addresses  the 
log  with  the  words,  "Welcome!  Come  and  eat  your  supper!" 
Sometimes  the  badnjak  is  dressed  in  a  new  shirt,  or  is  adorned 
with  red  silk,  golden  threads,  flowers,  etc.  After  all  this,  the 
householder  lays  the  badnjak  on  the  hearth,  where  a  fire  has 
been  kindled,  and  adds  some  more  logs  of  wood  which  likewise 
are  often  called  badnjaki  or  badnjarice. 

When  the  badnjak  is  burning  well,  the  farmer  takes  in  one 
hand  a  special  sort  of  bread,  decked  with  various  animals 
made  of  dough  and  covered  with  salt  and  wheat;  while  in  the 
other  he  holds  a  cup  of  wine.  He  now  walks  toward  the  corn- 
loft,  the  children  following  him  and  imitating  the  sounds  of 
domestic  animals;  and  after  a  portion  of  the  bread  and  wine 
has  been  left  on  the  window  of  the  loft,  the  rest  is  put  on  the 
table  in  the  room.  He  then  fills  a  glove  with  kernels  of  wheat, 
and  adding  a  silver  coin,  he  strews  the  grain  upon  the  floor,  as 
if  sowing.  The  children  throw  themselves  upon  the  wheat, 
picking  it  up  like  poultry;  and  the  one  who  succeeds  in  finding 
the  coin  will  have  good  luck.  Around  the  hearth  straw  is 
spread  and  covered  with  sweets  for  the  whole  family;  and  the 
farmer,  hiding  behind  it,  thrice  asks  the  household  if  they  can 
see  him. 

During  or  before  supper  the  farmer's  wife  places  a  portion 
of  the  food  in  a  separate  pan;  and  these  viands  remain  in  her 
charge  until  the  evening  before  Twelfth  Night,  when  every 
member  of  the  household  gets  a  bit  of  it. 

All  these  ceremonies  show  that  the  pagan  festival  of  which 
the  Koleda  still  retains  traces  was  a  purely  domestic  celebra- 
tion, and  that  It  was  closely  connected  with  the  worship  of  the 
penates,  who  were  believed  to  exercise  a  profound  influence 
upon  the  household.    The  badnjak  may  certainly  be  regarded 


3IO  SLAVIC  MYTHOLOGY 

as  a  special  symbol  of  the  genius  of  the  house  in  his  capacity 
of  protector  of  the  hearth,  which  is  rekindled  on  this  day.  Ac- 
cordingly the  kutiya  is  the  favourite  dish,  not  merely  at  the 
Koleda,  but  also  at  the  funeral  feast  and  on  All  Souls'  Day 
(November  2)  in  Russia. 


CHAPTER   III 
THE  RUSALYE 

AMONG  the  Slavs  the  Rusalye  are  celebrated  at  the  Whit- 
sun  holidays.  The  word  itself  is  of  foreign  origin  (from 
the  Greek  povadXia,  "feast  of  roses"),  and  so  are  many  cere- 
monies connected  with  the  festival,  although  numerous  in- 
digenous customs  have  been  preserved  side  by  side  with  these 
rites. 

In  Russia  the  Rusalye  were  celebrated  in  the  following  way. 
On  Whitsun  Monday  a  small  shed,  adorned  with  garlands, 
flowers,  and  fragrant  grasses,  was  erected  in  the  centre  of  an 
oak  grove;  a  straw  or  wooden  doll,  arrayed  in  holiday  gar- 
ments, was  placed  inside;  and  people  assembled  from  all 
quarters,  bringing  food  and  drink,  dancing  round  the  shed, 
and  giving  themselves  up  to  merriment.  In  the  Great  Russian 
Governments  people  leave  the  towns  and  villages  for  the  forests 
on  the  Thursday  preceding  Whitsunday  (Semik),  singing  an- 
cient songs  and  picking  flowers  which  they  make  into  wreaths. 
Then  the  lads  fell  a  nice  young  birch-tree  which  the  lasses 
dress  in  woman's  robes,  trimming  it  with  gay-coloured  ribbons 
and  gaudy  pieces  of  cloth.  As  they  carry  this  tree  along,  they 
sing  festive  songs;  and  then  follows  a  dinner  of  flour,  milk, 
eggs,  and  other  provisions  brought  for  the  occasion,  while 
wine  and  beer  are  purchased  by  voluntary  contributions. 
After  dinner  they  take  the  birch,  and  singing  merry  songs, 
they  carry  it  In  procession  to  the  village,  where  they  put  it 
down  In  a  house  chosen  for  the  purpose,  leaving  it  there  till 
Sunday. 

The  doll  which,  in  the  course  of  these  ceremonies,  is  finally 

1 1 1 — 2 1 


312  SLAVIC  MYTHOLOGY 

thrown  into  the  water  or  burned,  Is  usually  called  Rusalka;  ^^ 
and  the  ceremony  itself  is  probably  meant  as  a  second  funeral, 
i.  e.  to  secure  the  favour  of  the  Rusalky,  the  spirits  of  those 
who,  dying  a  violent  death,  have  not  been  buried  with  religious 
rites.  The  same  signification  may  be  attached  to  the  so-called 
"Driving  out  of  Death"  before  Easter,^"  a  custom  which, 
though  prohibited  as  early  as  the  fourteenth  century,  has  not 
yet  entirely  disappeared  in  Bohemia  and  other  countries. 

The  Bulgarians  in  Southern  Macedonia  keep  the  Rusalye 
during  Christmastide,  the  chief  characteristic  of  the  festival 
here  being  warlike  games  which  remind  us  of  the  ancient 
funeral  combats  {trizna,  tryzna).^^ 


CHAPTER   IV 
THE  KUPALO  AND  JARILO 

THE  festival  called  Kupalo  now  coincides  with  the  Chris- 
tian feast  of  St.  John  the  Baptist  (June  24).  Originally, 
however,  it  may  have  been  a  purely  domestic  celebration  when 
marriages  were  performed,  and  new  members  were  admitted 
into  the  family,  thus  accounting  for  the  erotic  elements  of  the 
customs  still  connected  with  St.  John's  Day.  In  the  course  of 
the  family  feast  the  memory  of  the  deceased  ancestors,  under 
whose  protection  individuals  were  received  into  the  household, 
was  revived,  and  this,  in  its  turn,  may  explain  the  funereal 
elements  of  the  commemoration. 

During  the  Kupalo  the  girls  go  to  the  woods  or  the  fields 
early  in  the  morning  to  pick  flowers  of  which  wreaths  are ' 
made;  and  at  the  same  time  they  amuse  themselves  by  trying 
to  foretell  their  future  in  the  following  fashion.  Choosing  the 
prettiest  girl  among  them,  they  take  her  into  the  forest,  sing- 
ing and  dancing.  Blindfolding  her  and  decking  her  with  gar- 
lands, they  seize  her  hands  and  dance  around  her,  while  the 
girl,  who  is  now  called  kupaljo,  picks  up  the  garlands,  one 
after  the  other,  and  distributes  them  among  her  dancing  com- 
panions. Those  who  receive  a  wreath  of  fresh  flowers  will  be 
fortunate  in  their  wedded  life;  but  those  whose  flowers  are 
withered  are  doomed  to  unhappiness.  After  all  the  garlands 
have  been  distributed,  the  girls  run  away,  doing  their  best  to 
avoid  being  caught  by  the  kupaljo,  since  any  maiden  whom 
she  touches  is  fated  to  remain  unwed  for  the  year. 

Another  way  of  prophesying  the  future  is  as  follows.    The 
young  people  meet  near  the  river  and  bathe  till  twilight,  when 


314  SLAVIC  MYTHOLOGY 

a  fire  is  kindled,  and  the  lads  and  lasses,  taking  each  other's 
hands,  jump  over  the  flame,  two  by  two.  Those  who  do  not 
loosen  their  hands  v/hile  jumping  will  become  husband  and 
wife,  the  same  thing  being  predicted  by  a  spark  which  comes 
out  of  the  fire  after  them. 

Funereal  elements  may  be  found  in  the  fact  that  in  many 
parts  of  the  country  figures  of  Kupalo  and  Marena  are  made 
and  afterwards  drowned  and  burned  like  a  Rusalka;22  while 
in  some  places  Jarilo  and  Kostroma  are  buried  in  a  similar 
way  instead  of  Kupalo. ^^ 


PART  V 

BALTIC    MYTHOLOGY 
By  the  Editor 


BALTIC   MYTHOLOGY 

THE  closest  kindred  of  the  Slavs  are  the  Baltic  peoples  — 
the  Prussians  and  Yatvyags  (both  long  extinct),  the  Lithu- 
anians, and  the  Letts.  Their  early  history  is  unknown,  but  we 
have  reason  to  believe  that  they  are  the  Aestii  of  Tacitus  ^  and 
Jordanes;^  and  two  divisions  of  them,  the  Galindae  and  Sudeni, 
are  mentioned  by  the  geographer  Ptolemy  ^  as  living  south  of 
the  Venedae,  i.  e.  the  Slavs  who  were  later  driven  from  the  Bal- 
tic shores.  Like  the  Slavs,  the  Baltic  peoples  seem  to  have  been 
part  of  the  Aryan  hordes  of  Sarmatians  who  formed  a  portion 
of  the  ethnological  congeries  somewhat  vaguely  termed  Scyth- 
ians;'* and  since  those  Scythians  with  whom  we  are  here  con- 
cerned were  very  closely  related  to  the  Indo-Iranian  race,  in 
certain  regards  Baltic  religion  is  strikingly  similar  to  the  Ira- 
nian, as  it  is  set  forth  in  our  earliest  documents.  Arrived  on  the 
Baltic  coast,  these  peoples  became  subject,  like  so  many  other 
invaders,  to  the  influences  of  the  races  whom  they  found  set- 
tled there,  this  being  especially  marked  in  the  case  of  the 
Letts,  who,  near  neighbours  of  the  Finno-Ugric  Esthonians, 
received  marked  changes  in  their  religion;  while  Scandina- 
vian elements,  from  Norse  sojourners  and  traders,  must  not 
be  overlooked. 

The  territory  of  the  Baltic  peoples  stretched,  roughly  speak- 
ing, from  the  Vistula  to  the  Dvlna,  and  occupied  approximately 
the  districts  now  known  as  East  Prussia,  Courland,  Kovno, 
Pskov,  Vitebsk,  Vilna,  Suwalki,  and  Grodno,  though  the 
boundaries  have  fluctuated  widely  and  have  shown  a  constant 
tendency  to  contract.  With  the  exception  of  the  Lithuanians, 
who  erected  a  considerable  kingdom  In  the  Middle  Ages,  only 
to  share  the  unhappy  fate  of  Poland,  the  Baltic  peoples  have 


3i8  BALTIC  MYTHOLOGY 

played  little  part  in  history.  In  a  backwater  of  civilization, 
retaining  in  extraordinary  measure  the  primitive  forms  of  their 
tribal  organization,  their  mode  of  life,  their  religion,  and  their 
language,^  they  were  no  match  for  those  who  sought  to  subdue 
them,  though  they  fared  less  hardly  at  the  hands  of  the  Slavs 
than  at  those  of  the  Germans. 

If,  then,  we  find  a  paucity  of  Baltic  mythology,  we  are  jus- 
tified in  assuming  that  it  was  destroyed  by  the  oppressor. 
Undoubtedly  it  once  flourished,  in  simple  form,  perhaps,  as 
became  a  rude  folk;  and  among  the  Letto-Lithuanians,  where 
fate  was  less  cruel  than  in  Prussia,  we  still  have  a  number  of 
ddinos  (folk-songs)  of  mythological  content.^  For  Baltic  re- 
ligion we  have  a  fair  amount  of  material,  though  recorded  by 
hostile  observers  who  utterly  failed  to  comprehend  its  spirit 
and  ignorantly  misinterpreted  it,  and  who,  in  all  likelihood, 
omitted  much  of  value  that  is  now  irretrievably  lost;^  for  Baltic 
mythology  we  have  little  more  than  fragments  of  sun-myths, 

Prussian  mythology  has  vanished,  leaving  not  a  trace  behind. 
We  are,  therefore,  restricted  to  the  Lithuanians  and  the  Letts. 
Even  here  our  older  sources  record  but  two  myths,  both  lamen- 
tably meagre.  Drawing  his  information  from  the  Camaldolite 
hermit  Jerome,  who  had  long  been  active  as  a  missionary  in 
Lithuania,  Aeneas  Sylvius  de'  Piccolomini  (afterward  Pope 
Pius  II,  who  died  in  1464)  tells  us  ^  of  a  Lithuanian  people 
"who  worshipped  the  sun  and  with  a  curious  cult  venerated 
an  iron  hammer  of  rare  size.  When  the  priests  were  asked  what 
that  veneration  meant,  they  answered  that  once  upon  a  time 
the  sun  was  not  seen  for  several  months,  because  a  most  mighty 
king  had  imprisoned  it  in  the  dungeon  of  a  tower  right  strongly 
fortified.  Then  the  signs  of  the  zodiac  bore  aid  to  the  sun, 
broke  the  tower  with  a  huge  hammer,  and  restored  to  men  the 
liberated  sun,  so  that  the  instrument  whereby  mortals  regained 
the  light  was  worthy  of  veneration."  This  is  probably,  as 
Mannhardt  suggested,^  a  myth  of  the  darkening  of  the  sun  in 
winter  and  his  reappearance  during  the  storms  of  spring.    In 


BALTIC  MYTHOLOGY  319 

Russian  and  Slovak  folk-tales  the  sun  is  represented  as  a  ruler  of 
twelve  realms,  or  as  served  by  twelve  maidens,'ever  young  and 
fair.^°  The  real  destroyer  of  the  tower  was  Perkunas,  god  of 
thunder  and  the  chief  Baltic  deity;  and  in  this  connexion  it 
may  be  noted  that  the  Lithuanian  name  for  a  prehistoric  celt 
is  Perkuno  kulka  ("Perkunas's  ball"),  a  term  which,  like 
Perkuno  akmu  ("Perkunas's  stone"),  is  also  applied  to  a 
belemnite.  The  parallel  with  the  hammer  of  Thor  in  Eddie 
mythology  at  once  suggests  itself. 

The  other  myth  is  still  briefer.  Perkune  Tete,  "mother  of 
lightning  and  thunder,"  we  are  told,"  receives  at  night  the 
weary,  dusty  sun,  whom  she  sends  forth  on  the  morrow,  bathed 
and  shining. 

We  have  seen  the  difficulties  with  which  Baltic  national 
consciousness  was  forced  to  contend.  It  was  not  until  the  rise 
of  the  Lithuanian  poet  Christian  DonaHtius  (1714-80)  that 
any  real  literature  could  be  created  either  in  Lithuanian  or  in 
Lettish;  Prussian  was  long  since  dead.^^  Then  attention  was 
directed  to  the  rich  store  of  folk-songs  in  both  the  living  lan- 
guages, and  their  treasures  became  available  for  mythological 
investigation,^^  the  foremost  name  in  this  study  being  that 
of  Wilhelm  Mannhardt."  Late  as  these  ddinos  are,  the  myth- 
ological material  which  they  contain  is  very  old,  far  antedating 
the  introduction  of  Christianity  and  presenting  a  point  of  view 
prior  to  the  thirteenth  century  ;^^  and  though,  as  we  shall  see, 
certain  Christian  changes  and  substitutions  have  been  made, 
these  are  not  sufficient  to  cause  serious  confusion.  Unfortu- 
nately our  material  is  restricted  to  myths  of  the  sun,  moon, 
and  stars,  although  surely  there  had  once  been  myths  of  other 
natural  phenomena,  especially  as  we  are  told  that  when  the 
Aurora  Borealis  appears,  the  Murgi  or  lohdi  (spirits  of  the  air 
and  souls  of  the  dead)  are  battling,  or  that  the  souls  of  warriors 
are  engaged  in  combat. ^^  It  is  inconceivable  that,  with  the 
wealth  of  Baltic  deities  of  very  diverse  functions,  no  myths 
were  associated  with  at  least  some  of  them. 


320  BALTIC  MYTHOLOGY 

Of  the  Baltic  sun-myths  perhaps  the  most  famous  is  con- 
tained in  the  following  daind:^'' 

"Home  the  Moon  once  led  the  Sun 
In  the  very  primal  spring; 
Early  did  the  Sun  arise, 
But  the  Moon  from  her  withdrew. 
Leaving  her,  he  roamed  afar, 
And  the  Morning  Star  he  loved; 

Perkuns  then  was  filled  with  wrath. 
With  his  sword  he  smote  the  Moon. 
'Wherefore  hast  thou  left  thy  Sun.^ 
Wherefore  roam'st  alone  by  night.'' 
Wherefore  lovest  Morning  Star?' 
Full  of  sorrow  was  his  heart." 

Here  we  see  the  myth  of  the  conjunction  of  sun  and  moon; 
their  gradual  divergence  till  at  last  the  latter  is  in  conjunction 
with  the  morning  star;  the  wrath  of  Perkunas,  who  is  not 
merely  the  god  of  thunder,^^  but  the  great  Baltic  deity;  and  the 
explanation  of  the  moon's  changing  form  as  he  wanes.  The 
poem  is  told  of  early  spring,^^  but  the  phenomenon  which  it 
describes  is  not  peculiarly  vernal. 

In  the  Baltic  languages  the  sun  is  feminine  (Lithuanian 
sdule,  Lettish  sa^ule),  and  the  moon  is  masculine  (Lithuanian 
menu,  Lettish  menes).  The  feminine  Morning  Star  and  Evening 
Star  of  the  Lithuanians  (Ausrine,  Vakarine),  however,  appear 
among  the  Letts  as  masculine,  the  "sons  of  God"  {Deewa 
dehli),  who,  we  shall  see,  woo  the  "Daughter  of  the  Sun,"  whose 
Lithuanian  suitor,  as  in  the  daind  just  given,  is  the  moon; 2° 
yet,  with  the  frequent  inconsistency  of  myth,  these  feminine 
stars  have  masculine  doublets  in  Lithuanian  itself  in  the  D'evo 
sunelei,  or  "Sons  of  God." 

A  Lettish  variant  of  this  myth^^  carries  the  story  a  little 
further.  The  sun  and  the  moon  have  many  children,  the  stars  ;^ 
and  the  betrothed  of  the  masculine  Lettish  Morning  Star  is 
none  other  than  the  sun's  own  daughter,  the  fruit  of  a  tem- 
porary union  with  Pehrkon  himself  —  a  clear  personification 


BALTIC  MYTHOLOGY  321 

of  a  thunder-storm  at  dawn.  The  moon,  in  shame  and  anger, 
avoids  his  spouse,  and  is  visible  only  by  night,  while  she  ap- 
pears by  day  in  the  sight  of  all  mankind. 

The  wooing  of  Morning  Star  brought  grief  to  her  as  well  as 
to  the  moon,  as  is  related  in  another  daind.^^ 

"When  Morning  Star  was  wedded, 
Perkuns  rode  through  the  door-way 
And  the  green  oak  ^'^  he  shattered. 

Then  forth  the  oak's  blood  spurted, 
Besprinkling  all  my  garments, 
Besprinkling,  too,  my  crownlet. 

With  streaming  eyes,  Sun's  daughter 
For  three  years  was  collecting 
The  leaves,  all  sear  and  withered. 

Oh  where,  oh  where,  my  mother, 

Shall  I  now  wash  my  garments. 

And  where  wash  out  the  blood-stains? 

My  daughterling,  so  youthful. 
Swift  haste  unto  the  fountain 
Wherein  nine  brooks  are  flowing. 

Oh  where,  oh  where,  my  mother, 
Shall  I  now  dry  my  garments. 
Where  dry  them  in  the  breezes? 

My  daughter,  in  the  garden 
Where  roses  nine  are  blooming. 

Oh  where,  oh  where,  my  mother, 
Shall  I  now  don  my  garments 
Bright  gleaming  in  their  whiteness? 

Upon  that  day,  my  daughter, 
When  nine  suns  shall  be  shining." 

Here  the  fountain  with  nine  brooks,  the  garden  with  nine  roses, 
and  the  day  with  nine  suns  symbolize  the  rays  of  the  sun,^^  as 
does  the  apple-tree  with  nine  branches  in  another  daind?^  The 
role  of  Perkunas  receives  an  explanation  in  the  marriage  custom 


322  BALTIC  MIlTHOLOGY 

that  he  who  conducts  the  bride  to  the  groom  should  appear 
armed  and,  as  he  rides  forth,  should  strike  at  the  door-post,  the 
door,  the  roof,  or  even  the  air,  probably  to  exorcize  the  demons.^' 
On  the  other  hand,  it  is  possible  that  his  association  with  dawn 
or  sunset  is  secondary  and  due  to  the  likeness  of  evening  and 
morning  glow  to  the  lightning's  fire;^^  and  it  is  equally  possible 
that  his  splitting  of  the  tree,  of  which  we  shall  soon  hear  more, 
represents  the  evening  twilight,  the  oak's  blood  being  the  red 
rays  of  the  setting  sun.^^ 

All  our  sources  for  Baltic  religion  agree  in  stating  that  Per- 
kunas,  god  of  thunder  and  lightning,  was  the  chief  deity  of 
these  peoples.  The  thunder  was  his  voice,  and  with  it  he  re- 
vealed his  will  to  men;  it  was  he  who  sent  the  fertilizing  rains; 
he  was  to  the  Prussians,  Lithuanians,  and  Letts  what  Indra 
was  to  the  Indians  of  Vedic  days.^*'  Moreover  he  has  still  an- 
other resemblance  to  Indra  which  is  equally  striking.  When 
he  smites  a  devil  with  his  bolt,  he  does  not  kill  the  fiend,  but 
merely  strikes  him  down  to  hell  for  seven  years,  after  which 
the  demon  again  appears  on  earth,  just  as  Indra  and  his  Iranian 
doublets  (especially  Thraetaona)  do  not  slay  their  antagonist, 
the  storm-dragon,  but  only  wound  him  or  imprison  him  so  in- 
securely that  he  escapes,  so  that  the  unending  battle  must 
constantly  be  renewed.^^ 

In  the  ddinos  the  role  of  Perkunas  is  relatively  a  minor  one, 
for  sun-myths  deal  only  incidentally  with  storms,  whether  in 
their  beneficent,  fertilizing  aspects,  or  in  their  maleficent,  de- 
structive functions.  Still,  he  is  there,  under  a  relatively  ten- 
uous disguise.  For  "God,"  "God's  horses,"  "God's  steers" 
(the  darkening  clouds  of  evening), ^^  and  —  above  all  —  "God's 
sons"  are  frequently  mentioned;  and  "God"  (Old  Prussian 
deizuas,  Lithuanian  dhas,  Lettish  deews)  can  have  meant  in 
Baltic  none  other  than  Perkunas,  who  was  the  deity  par  excel- 
lence^ just  as  in  Greece  "from  Homer  to  the  dramatic  poets 
the  unqualified  use  of  ©eo'?,  'god,'  invariably  refers  to  Zeus."^^ 
•His  sons  are  nine  in  number:  three  shatter  in  pieces,  three 


BALTIC  MYTHOLOGY  323 

thunder,  and  three  lighten;  or,  in  other  poems,  he  has  onl7  five; 
but  in  any  case  they  all  live  in  Germany,  in  other  words,  in  the 
darkening  west,  whither  (or  across  the  sea)  he  himself  goes  to 
seek  a  bride.  He  smites  the  demonic  lohdi;  he  strikes  the  sea 
in  which  the  sun  is  drowned  at  evening;  but,  on  the  other  hand, 
where  he  goes  with  his  gentle,  smoke-grey  horses  (the  clouds), 
the  meadows  flourish;  the  sun  rises  through  the  saddle  of  his 
steed,  and  the  moon  through  the  bit,  while  at  the  end  of  the 
rein  is  the  morning  star;  he  gives  the  moon  a  hundred  sons 
(the  stars)  —  in  a  word,  he  is  the  sky-god  in  process  of  elevation 
to  all-god.^^ 

In  the  ddinos,  however,  as  we  should  expect  from  their  theme, 
the  sun  is  the  important  figure.  We  cannot  enter  here  into  all 
the  rich  details  elaborated  by  Mannhardt,  nor  can  we  repeat  the 
wealth  of  description  and  allusion  in  the  folk-songs  them- 
selves. One  example  must  suffice  to  show  how  delicate  the 
shading  is.  We  think  of  the  sun  as  golden,  and  rightly  so.  Yet 
in  the  ddinos  we  read  that,  wearing  silver  shoes,  she  dances  on 
the  silver  mount,  or  sails  over  a  silver  sea,  or  scatters  gifts  of 
silver,  or  sows  silver,  or  is  herself  a  silver  apple,  or  a  boat  of 
silver,  bronze,  and  gold,  or  one  half  of  gold  and  half  of  silver  — 
all  referring  to  the  various  shadings  caused  by  her  diff'erent 
positions  in  the  sky.^^  Her  hundred  brown  horses  are  her  rays,^^ 
or  she  has  two  golden  horses;"  "God's"  horse  and  the  waggon 
of  Mary  (the  planet  Venus?)  stand  before  her  door  while  her 
daughter  (the  evening  twilight)  is  being  wooed;  and  in  the  east, 
where  she  rises,  lives  a  gold  and  diamond  steed. ^^  She  even 
quarrels  with  "God"  because  his  sons  (the  evening  and  morn- 
ing stars)  stole  the  rings  from  her  daughters  (twilight  and 
dawn).^^ 

The  red  berries  in  the  forest  are  the  dried  tears  of  the  sun 
(the  red  clouds  of  sunset?),  and  the  glow  on  the  green  tips  of 
the  wood  at  sunset  is  her  silken  garment  hung  out  to  air;  when 
she  sets,  she  gives  a  golden  crown  to  the  linden,  a  silver  coronet 
to  the  oak,  and  a  golden  ring  to  each  little  willow.^°  She  weeps 


324  BALTIC  MYTHOLOGY 

bitterly  because  the  golden  apple  has  fallen  from  the  tree  (a 
myth  of  sunset),  but  "God"  will  make  her  another  of  gold, 
brass,  or  silver."*^  She  is  herself  an  apple,  sleeping  in  an  apple- 
garden,  and  decked  with  apple-blossoms  (the  fleecy  clouds  of 
dawn).*^  Disregarding  the  counsel  of  Perkunas,  she  betroths 
her  daughter  to  Morning  Star,  though  first  she  gives  the 
maiden  to  the  moon,  who  takes  the  young  girl  to  his  home,  i.e. 
at  twilight  the  moon  is  the  first  to  become  visible,  thus  pre- 
ceding the  morning  star,  which  bears  away  the  dawn.^ 

She  strikes  the  moon  with  a  silver  stone;  in  other  words, 
her  rising  orb  obliterates  the  moon,  this  being  the  cause  of 
three  days'  battle  with  "God."  ^^  She  dwells  on  a  mountain 
(the  vault  of  heaven),  and  standing  in  mid-sky,  she  reproves 
her  daughters  because  one  had  not  swept  the  floor,  while  the 
other  had  failed  to  wash  the  table.^^ 

She,  "God's  daughter"  {Devo  dukryte),  watches  over  all 
things,  as  is  set  forth  in  a  charming  little  daind.^^ 

"O  thou  Sun,  daughter  of  God, 
Where  delayest  thou  so  long, 
Where  sojoumest  thou  so  long. 
Since  thou  hast  from  us  withdrawn? 

O'er  the  sea,  beyond  the  hills. 
Wheat  there  is  that  I  must  watch, 
Shepherds,  too,  that  I  must  guard; 
Many  are  my  gifts  in  sooth. 

O  thou  Sun,  daughter  of  God, 
Tending  thee  at  morn  and  eve, 
Who  doth  make  for  thee  thy  fire, 
Who  prepares  thy  couch  for  thee? 


Morning  Star  and  Evening  Star: 
Morning  Star  doth  make  my  fire. 
Evening  Star  prepares  my  couch; 
Many  are  my  kin  in  sooth." 


In  comparison  with  the  sun  the  moon  is  a  very  minor  figure,^^ 
and  his  chief  importance  is  his  connexion  with  the  sun.  When 
his  spouse  reproaches  him  for  his  pale  colour,  he  replies  that 


BALTIC  MYTHOLOGY  325 

while  she  shines  for  man  by  day,  he  can  only  look  at  himself  by 
night  in  the  water.^^  He  wears  a  mantle  of  stars  ^^  and,  like  the 
sun,  is  liable  to  be  destroyed  (i.e.  eclipsed)  by  dragons,  ser- 
pents, and  witches.^" 

The  sun,  as  we  have  seen,  has  daughters,  and  "God"  (i.e. 
Perkunas,  the  deity  of  thunder  and  storm,  yet  —  at  least  in 
germ  —  the  sky-god)  has  sons.  Though  the  latter  are  some- 
times given  as  nine  or  five  in  number,^^  only  two  have  any  real 
individuality,  and  they  are  "God's  sons"  {D'evo  sunelei)  par 
excellence,  just  as  the  sun  has  only  one  daughter  or  two  daugh- 
ters {Sdules  duktele),^'^  according  as  the  twilights  of  evening  and 
morning  are  considered  as  separate  phenomena  or  as  the  same 
phenomenon  in  twofold  manifestation.^^  The  "sons  of  God" 
are  the  morning  and  the  evening  star  (sometimes  combined  as 
the  planet  Venus),  the  former  being  by  far  the  more  impor- 
tant;^"* the  "Sun's  daughters"  are  the  morning  and  the  evening 
twilight;  and  their  close  association  is  a  common  theme  in  the 
ddinos.  They  are  the  Baltic  counterparts  of  the  Vedic  Asvins 
and  Usas,  or  of  the  Greek  Dioskouroi  and  Helen.^^ 

We  may  begin  our  study  of  these  figures  with  a  daind  which 
has  at  least  a  partial  resemblance  to  the  familiar  "Jack  and 
the  Beanstalk"  cycle.^^ 

"O  Zemina,  flower-giver, 
Where  shall  I  now  plant  the  roses? 
'On  the  lofty  mountain-summit, 
By  the  ocean,  by  the  sea-side.' 

0  Zemina,  flower-giver, 

Where  shall  I  find  father,  mother, 
I,  deserted  and  a  pauper? 
*  Haste  thee  to  the  lofty  mountain, 
By  the  ocean,  by  the  sea-side.' 

Forth  then  from  the  rose-trunk  springing, 

Grew  a  mighty  tree  and  lofty 

Till  its  branches  reached  the  heavens; 

1  will  climb  up  to  the  heavens 
On  the  branches  of  the  roses. 


326  BALTIC  M\THOLOGY 

There  I  found  a  youthful  hero 
Who  was  riding  on  God's  charger. 
'O  fair  youth,  O  valiant  horseman, 
Hast  thou  not  seen  father,  mother?' 

'O  my  maiden,  O  my  youngling, 
Seek  the  region  of  the  valley; 
There  thy  father,  there  thy  mother 
Plan  the  marriage  of  thy  sister.' 

So  I  hasted  to  the  valley; 
'Father,  good  day  and  good  morning; 
Mother,  good  day  and  good  morning; 
Why  did  ye  leave  me,  an  infant, 
To  the  mercy  of  the  stranger  ? 

'Grown  to  be  a  sturdy  maiden, 
I  alone  have  found  the  cradle 
Where  in  childhood  I  was  happy.'" 

Here  sun  and  moon  have  departed  from  their  daughter,  the 
morning  twilight.  Yet,  though  so  heartlessly  abandoned,  she 
seeks  them,  climbing  the  sun-tree.  There  she  finds  "a  youth- 
ful hero,  mounted  on  God's  charger,"  who  is  plainly  the  evening 
star;  and  he  tells  her  that  she  will  find  her  parents  "in  the  val- 
ley," i.e.  at  the  place  of  sunset  in  the  darkening  west.^'^  The 
sun  also  seems  to  have  had  a  night-tree,  in  addition  to  the 
rose-tree  of  day.^^ 

The  "youthful  hero"  introduces  us  to  a  veritable  love-myth 
of  "God's  sons"  with  the  "daughters  of  the  sun."  We  have 
already  had  ^^  some  fugitive  allusions  to  the  wooing  and  we  may 
now  trace  the  story  in  more  detail.  Seeking  to  win  the  "  daugh- 
ter of  the  sun,"  "God's  son"  makes  for  her  an  island  in  the  midst 
of  the  sea  (i.  e.  either  the  first  dark  shadows  of  evening  or  the 
first  bits  of  light  at  dawn);^°  or  the  two  sons  kindle  two  lights 
in  the  sea,  awaiting  her,  and  in  the  centre  of  the  ocean  they 
build  a  bridal  chamber,  which  she  enters  tremblingly;  and  she  is 
urged  to  awake  early,  for  "God's  sons"  are  coming  to  roll 
apples.®^  When  "God's  son"  rides  a  grey  steed  in  his  wooing, 
he  is  the  evening  star,  since  greyness  covers  the  sky  at  even- 
ing; but  when  from  the  golden  bushes  he  watches  the  sun's 


BALTIC  MYTHOLOGY  327 

daughter  as  she  bathes,  he  is  the  morning  star,  gazing  on  the 
beauty  of  the  rising  dawn.^^  When  all  the  other  stars  are  visible, 
the  morning  star  is  absent,  for  he  has  gone  to  woo  the  daughter 
of  the  sun;  she  hastens  toward  him;  and  they  are  wedded  in 
Germany  beyond  the  sea.®^  Of  course  lovers  occasionally  quar- 
rel, and  so  the  daughter  of  the  sun  breaks  the  sword  of  "God's 
son"  (dawn  surpasses  the  brightness  of  the  morning  star);  and, 
in  their  turn,  "God's  sons"  deprive  her  of  her  ring  (the  solar 
disk)  at  evening,  though,  as  we  shall  see,  they  presently  fish  it 
from  the  sea  (at  dawn)  when  it  falls  from  her  finger  at  evening.^^ 
But  "lovers'  quarrels  are  love's  renewal,"  and  since  evening 
star  and  evening  twilight,  morning  star  and  morning  dawn, 
are  inseparably  associated,  "God's  sons"  dance  in  the  moon- 
light beneath  an  oak  by  the  spring  with  "God's  daughters," 
as  the  following  daind  tells. ^^ 

"'Neath  a  maple  lies  a  fountain 
Whither  God's  sons  hast'ning 
Go  to  dance  with  God's  own  daughters 
While  the  moon  shines  o'er  them. 

In  the  fountain  by  the  maple 

I  my  face  was  laving; 
While  my  white  face  I  was  bathing, 

Lo,  my  ring  I  washed  off. 

Will  the  sons  of  God  come  hither 

With  their  nets  all  silken.'' 
Will  they  fish  my  ring  so  tiny 

From  the  depths  of  water  .^ 

Then  there  came  a  hero  youthful, 

His  brown  charger  riding; 
Brown  the  colour  of  the  charger, 

And  his  shoes  were  golden. 

*  Hither  come,  O  maiden, 

Hither  come,  O  youngling! 
With  fair  words  let  us  be  speaking. 
With  fair  counsel  let  us  counsel 

Where  the  stream  is  deepest, 

And  where  love  is  sweetest.' 
Ill— 22 


328  BALTIC  MYTHOLOGY 

'Nay,  I  cannot,  hero, 

Nay,  I  cannot,  youngling. 
For  my  mother  dear  will  chide  me, 
Yea,  the  aged  dame  will  chide  me 

If  I  tarry  longer.' 

'Speak  thus  to  her,  maiden, 
Speak  thus  to  her,  youngling: 
"Thither  came  two  swans  a-flying 
And  the  water's  depth  they  troubled; 
Till  it  cleared  I  waited."' 

"T  is  not  true,  my  daughter, 

For  beneath  the  maple 
With  a  young  man  thou  wast  talking 
With  a  youth  thou  wast  exchanging 

Words  of  love's  sweet  language.'" 

Life  is  not  all  love,  unfortunately,  and  both  "God's  sons"  and 
the  daughters  of  the  sun  have  their  tasks  to  perform.  Some  of 
these  we  already  know.^^  In  Germany  the  morning  star  must 
prepare  a  coat  of  samite  (i.e.  the  rich  hues  of  dawn);  "God's 
sons  "  must  band  the  broken  solar  orb  after  the  summer  solstice; 
they  must  heat  the  bath  (of  dawn) ;  as  the  workmen  of  Sun  and 
Moon,  or  as  the  servants  of  Perkunas,  they  are  reproved  for 
not  mowing  the  meadows,  etc.  (i.e.  preparing  for  the  dawn); 
but  after  uprooting  the  birch-forest  (i.e.  dissipating  the  last 
traces  of  day)  they  go  to  Germany  to  play  games. ^^  As  for  the 
sun's  daughter,  the  golden  cock  crows  on  the  edge  of  the 
"Great  Water"  (Daugawa)  ^^  to  rouse  her  that  she  may  spin 
the  silver  thread,  i.e.  the  rays  of  the  rising  sun.^^  Her  chief 
task,  however,  is  to  wash  her  golden  jug  (the  solar  disk)  at 
evening.  This  she  loses,  and  she  herself  is  drowned  ;^°  or  else 
she  falls  into  a  golden  boat,  which  remains  behind  her  on  the 
waves,  or  "God's  sons"  row  the  boat  which  rescues  her  as  she 
wades  in  the  sea,  so  that  she  can  reappear  at  dawn."^  Occasion- 
ally, however,  "God's  son"  stands  passively  on  the  mountain 
while  she  sinks;  or,  instead  of  wedding  her,  he  merely  escorts 
her  to  Germany.^2  Behind  this  mountain  stands  an  oak  (the 
tree,  no  doubt,  beneath  which  the  lovers  dance),  and  on  this 


BALTIC  MYTHOLOGY  329 

"God's  son"  hangs  his  girdle,  and  the  sun's  daughter  her 
crown. '^^  When,  in  other  ddinos,  the  solar  jug  is  broken  by  "little 
John,"  this  obviously  refers  to  the  waning  strength  of  the  sun's 
rays  after  Midsummer  Night's  Eve  (St.  John's  Eve,  June  23).^^ 

When  the  sun  is  drowned  in  the  sea,^^  her  daughter  is  natu- 
rally regarded  as  an  orphan;  and  thus  we  are  enabled  to  under- 
stand a  daind  that  tells  how  "God"  makes  a  golden  hedge 
(the  sunset)  to  which  his  sons  (strictly  speaking,  here  only  the 
evening  star)  come  riding  on  sweating  horses.  Here  they  find 
an  orphan  girl  (twilight)  whom  they  make  its  guardian,  charg- 
ing her  not  to  break  off  the  golden  boughs  (the  rays  of  the  set- 
ting sun);  but  she  disobeys  and  flees  to  the  valley  of  "Mary's" 
bath-chamber  (the  darkness  of  night).  Thither  "God"  and  his 
sons  come,  but  refuse  forgiveness  for  her  transgression  of  their 
commands.  "Mary"  is  perhaps,  as  we  have  suggested  in  an- 
other connexion,  ^^  a  Christianized  substitute  for  the  planet 
Venus  as  the  evening  star. 

In  the  story  of  the  daughters  of  the  sun  we  have  found  fre- 
quent mention  of  a  sea,  and  the  sun  herself  sails,  as  we  know,'^ 
across  a  silver  sea.  This  sea,  like  the  brooks  and  springs  which 
have  also  occurred, ^^  is  none  other  than  the  celestial  ocean, 
rivers,  etc.,  which  are  so  prominent  a  feature  of  Indo-Iranian 
mythology; ^^  and  the  "Great  Water"  (Daugawa),  though  now 
identified  by  the  Letts  with  the  river  Dvina,  is  to  be  interpreted 
in  similar  fashion.^"  This  Daugawa  flows  black  at  evening  be- 
cause it  is  full  of  the  souls  of  the  departed,  and  at  midnight  a 
star  descends  to  "the  house  of  souls."  ^^  Very  appropriately, 
therefore,  the  sun's  daughter  has  the  key  to  the  realm  of  the 
dead;  and  at  evening  "Mother  Earth"  (Semmes  Mate),  from 
whom  one  asks  whatever  may  be  lost  or  hidden, ^^  is  besought 
to  give  this  key.^^  In  the  afternoon  "God's  children"  shut  the 
door  of  heaven,  so  that  one  should  be  buried  in  the  morning; 
and,  accordingly,  the  sun's  daughter  is  entreated  to  give  a  key 
that  an  only  brother's  grave  may  be  unlocked. ^^ 

We  have  a  few  ddinos  in  honour  of  a  deity  Usching,  whom 


330  BALTIC  MYTHOLOGY 

a  Jesuit  mission  report  of  1606  declares  to  have  been  a  horse- 
god  worshipped  in  the  vicinity  of  Ludzen  and  Rossitten,  in  the 
extreme  south-east  of  Lithuania. ^^  These  are  not,  however,  of 
mythological  value,  and  the  only  Baltic  figure  remaining  for 
our  consideration  here  is  that  of  the  celestial  smith.  This  smith 
has  his  forge  in  the  sky,  on  the  edge  either  of  the  sea  or  of  the 
Daugawa;  and  there  he  makes  spurs  and  a  girdle  for  "God's 
son,"  and  a  crown  and  ring  for  the  sun's  daughter  ^®  —  in  other 
words,  from  his  smithy  come  the  rays  of  the  rising  sun  and  the 
solar  disk  itself.  Mannhardt  regards  this  smith  as  the  glow  of 
dawn  or  of  sunset,  and  compares  him  to  the  Finno-Ugric  II- 
marinen,  the  Teutonic  Wieland,  and  the  Greek  Hephaistos.^^ 
A  still  closer  analogue,  however,  is  the  Vedic  Tvastr,  who 
wrought  the  cup  which  contains  the  nectar  of  the  gods;^^  and 
it  is  even  possible  that  he  is  ultimately  the  same  as  the  Slavic 
deity  Svarog.^^  His  name  is  given  as  Telyaveli  or  Telyavelik 
in  the  Russian  redaction  (dating  from  1261)  of  the  Byzantine 
historian  John  Malalas,  which  says  that  he  "forged  for  him 
(Perkunas)  the  sun  as  it  shines  on  earth,  and  set  the  sun  in 
heaven."  ^° 

Such  are  the  pitifully  scanty  remnants  of  what  must  once 
have  been  a  great  mythology.  Yet,  fragmentary  though  they 
are,  they  possess  a  distinctive  value.  They  help  to  explain  the 
migrations  of  important  divisions  of  our  own  Indo-European 
race  —  a  problem  into  which  we  cannot  enter  here;  they  cast 
light  upon,  and  are  themselves  illuminated  by,  the  mythologies 
of  far-off  India  and  Iran;  they  reveal  the  wealth  of  poetic  imag- 
ery and  fantasy  inherent  in  the  more  primitive  strata  of  our 
race;  they  show  how  baseless  is  the  charge  of  gross  materialism, 
selfishness,  and  fear  to  which  so  many  shallow  and  prejudiced 
thinkers  would  fain  trace  the  origin  of  religious  thought.  We 
may  lament  the  paucity  of  the  extant  Baltic  myths;  yet  let  us 
not  forget  to  be  grateful  and  thankful  that  even  a  few  have 
survived. 


NOTES 


CELTIC 

Introduction 

Citation  by  author's  name  or  by  title  of  a  text  or  a  volume  of  a  series  refers  to  the 
same  in  the  various  sections  of  the  Bibliography.  Where  an  author  has  written 
several  works  they  are  distinguished  as  [a],  [b],  etc. 

1.  Caesar,  De  bello  Gallico,  vi.  14. 

2.  See  especially  OIL,  CIR. 

3.  3  vols.,  Leipzig,  1896  ff. 

4.  See  infra,  pp.  157-58. 

5.  The  exact  meaning  of  simulacra  in  this  passage  Is  a  little  un- 
certain. Possibly  they  were  boundary  stones,  like  the  Classical  herms 
(cf.  Mythology  of  All  Races,  Boston,  1916,  i.  194-95);  but  they  were 
probably  "symbols"  rather  than  "images"  (see  MacCuUoch  [b], 
pp.  284-85),  and  may  have  been  standing-stones  (see  infra, 
pp.  158-59). 

6.  De  bello  Gallico,  vi.  17. 

7.  ib.  vi.  18. 

8.  MacCulloch  [b],  pp.  29  ff. 

9.  Argonautica,  iv.  609  f. 

10.  Diodorus  Siculus  (first  century  b.  c),  ii.  47. 

11.  Herakles,  i  ff. 

12.  Solinus,  xxii.  lo. 

13.  Giraldus  Cambrensis,  Topographia  Hiberniae,  ii.  34  ff. 

14.  Pharsalia,  iii.  399  ff. 

15.  De  bello  Gallico,  vi.  17. 

16.  Livy,  V.  xxxix.  3. 

17.  Pausanias,  X.  xxiii.  7. 

18.  Avienus  (fourth  century  a.  d.),  Ora  maritima,  644  ff. 

19.  zap  i.  27  (1899). 

20.  ib. 

21.  Justin  (probably  third  century  a.  d.),  XXIV.  iv.  3. 

22.  Diodorus  Siculus,  V.  xxiv.  i. 

23.  See  infra,  p.  117. 

24.  Diodorus  Siculus,  iv.  19. 

25.  Propertius,  V.  x.  41. 

26.  Pliny,  Historia  naturalis,  xxix.  3. 

27.  Lucan,  Pharsalia,  i.  455  ff.;  Diodorus  Siculus,  v.  28. 


334  CELTIC  MYTHOLOGY 

28.  a.  Mythology  of  All  Races,  Boston,  1916,  i.  6-8. 

29.  Plutarch,  De  defectu  oraculorum,  18,  De  facie  lunae,  26. 

30.  See  infra,  pp.  54,  90,  95-96,  119-20,  122,  127,  132,  192. 

31.  Procopius,  ed.  W.  Dindorf,  Bonn,  1833,  ii.  566  f. 

32.  Cf.  Mythology  of  J II  Races,  Boston,  1916,  i.  145-46. 

33.  Claudian,  In  Rufinum,  i.  123. 

34.  Villemarque  [a],  i.  136;  Le  Braz  [a],  i.  p.  xxxix. 

35.  Pliny,  Historia  naturalis,  iv.  13;  Strabo,  ii.  4  (=  p.  104,  ed. 
Casaubon). 

36.  Historia  naturalis,  Ii.  98. 

37.  So  called  from  the  Greek  Euhemerus  (fourth  century  b.  c), 
who,  in  a  philosophical  romance,  of  which  only  scanty  fragments 
have  survived,  showed  how  the  gods  had  been  actual  men  and  their 
myths  records  of  actual  events  (see  E.  Rohde,  Der  griechische  Roman 
und  seine  Vorldufer,  2nd  ed.,  Leipzig,  1900,  pp.  236-41,  and  J.  Geff- 
cken,  "Euhemerism,"  in  ERE  v.  572-73). 

38.  Cited  as  LL  and  LU .  They  have  been  edited  at  Dublin 
in  1880  and  1870  respectively,  but  neither  has  been  completely 
translated. 

39.  See  Bibliography  of  Irish  Philology  and  of  Printed  Irish  Litera- 
ture, Dublin,  1913,  pp.  80-122. 

40.  See  Wentz,  passim. 

Chapter   I 

1.  Keating,  i.  141  flf.  {ITS). 

2.  MS  H  2,  18;  text  and  translation  in  £riu,  viii.  i  ff.  (1915). 

3.  Harleian  MS.   5280,  text  and  translation  by  W.   Stokes,   in 
RCelxn.  61  ff.  (1891). 

4.  ib.  XV.  69  (1894). 

5.  LL  169  a,  214  b. 

6.  RCel  XV.  439  (1894). 

7.  Harleian  MS.  5280,  §  39  f. 

8.  ib.  §§  25  f.,  165. 

9.  E.  O'Curry,  in  Atlantis,  iv.  159  (1863). 

10.  Harleian  MS.  5280,  §§  ii,  33  f. 

11.  ib.  §  53  f. 

12.  The  "Land  of  Promise"  Is  a  name  for  Elysium,  perhaps  bor- 
rowed by  Christian  editors  from  Biblical  sources. 

13.  E.  O'Curry,  in  Atlantis,  iv.  159  ff.  (1863). 

14.  Harleian  MS.  5280,  §  74  f. 
15-  ib.  §84f. 

16.  ib.  §  88  f. 

17.  ib.  §§  96,  122;  see  also  infra,  pp.  51,  120. 


NOTES  335 

i8.  See  Mythology  of  All  Races,  Boston,  1917,  vi.  50. 

19.  Harleian  MS.  5280,  §§  100,  122,  LL  11  a,  W.  Stokes,  in  RCel 
XV.  541  (1894). 

20.  Harleian  MS.  5280,  §§  102,  122,  S,  H.  O'Grady,  ii.  219. 

21.  Harleian  MS.  5280,  §  123,  W.  Stokes,  in  RCel  xvi.  59  (1895). 

22.  Harleian  MS.  5280,  §  125  f. 

23.  ib.  §  129  f. 

24.  MacNeiU,  i.  135  (/rS). 

25.  Harleian  MS.  5280,  §§  137,  149  f. 

26.  Book  of  Fermoy,  24  b. 

27.  Harleian  MS.  5280,  §  162  f. 

28.  Loth,  Mabinogion,  i.  306. 

29.  Harleian  MS.  5280,  §  166  f. 

30.  W.  Stokes,  in  RCel  xv.  311  f.  (1894). 

31.  LL  9  b. 

32.  There  is  some  connexion  between  Manannan  and  Eogan,  for 
Fand  says  that  she  dwelt  in  Eogan's  bower. 

33.  Cf.  supra,  pp.  14-15,  on  Plutarch's  myth  of  Elysium. 

34.  LL  275  b;  d'Arbois,  Cours,  ii.  356  ff. 

35.  W.  Stokes,  in  RCel  xvi.  273  (1895). 

36.  D'Arbois,  Cours,  ii.  145. 

37.  W.  Stokes,  in  RCel  xii.  129  (1891). 

38.  L.    C.    Stern,    in    Festschrift    Whitley    Stokes  .  .  .  gezuidmet, 
Leipzig,  1900,  p.  17. 

39.  Text  and  translation  by  E.  O'Curry,  in  Atlantis,  iv.  159  ff. 
(1863). 

40.  Harleian  MS.  5280,  §  3  f. 

Chapter  H 

1.  Annals  of  Tigernach,  ed.  and  tr.  W.  Stokes,  in  RCel  xvi.  394, 
404  ff.  (1895). 

2.  TOS  V.  234  (i860). 

3.  Dindsenchas,  ed.  and  tr.  W.  Stokes,  in  RCel  xv.  446  (1894). 

4.  LLgfi.;  Keating,  ii.  79  ff.  (ITS). 

5.  S.  H.  O'Grady,  ii.  260. 

6.  ib.  ii.  171. 

7.  See  MacNeill,  i.  introd.,  pp.  xxv,  xxxviii  f.   (ITS),  and  his 
articles  in  New  Ireland  Review,  xxv-xxvi  (1906). 

8.  LL  245  b. 

9.  W.  Stokes,  in  RCel  xvi.  35  (1895). 

10.  LL  7  a. 

11.  D.  Fitzgerald,  in  RCel  iv.  187  ff.  (1879);  cf.  S.  H.  O'Grady,  in 
TOSm.  114  (185s). 


336  CELTIC  IvmrHOLOGY 


Chapter  III 

1.  E.   Windisch,   in  IT  i.    14;   Stokes,    Tripartite  Life  of  Saint 
Patrick,  p.  314. 

2.  Ed.  and  tr.  W.  M.  Hennessy,  in  RU.TLS  i.  3  (1889). 

3.  O'Curry  [a],  i.  505. 

4.  LL  246. 

5.  Book  of  Fermoy,  iii  f.;  E.  O'Curry,  in  Atlantis,  iii.  385  (1862); 
RIA:IMS  i.  45  f.  (1870). 

6.  Text  and  translation  by  E.  O'Curry,  in  Atlantis,  iv.  113  fF. 
(1863). 

7.  L.  C.  Stem,  in  ZCP  v.  523  (1905);  Stirn,  in  RCel  xxvii.  332, 
xxviii.  330  (1906-07). 

8.  A.  Nutt,  in  RCel  xxvii.  328  (1906). 

9.  LL  209  b;  text  and  translation  by  L.  Gwynn,  in  Eriu,  vii.  210  f. 
(1914). 

10.  See  Mythology  of  All  Races,  Boston,  1916,  i.  5-8. 

11.  MacCulloch  [b],  p.  81. 

Chapter  IV 

1.  Caesar,  De  bello  Gallico,  vi.  14. 

2.  S.  H.  O'Grady,  ii.  203. 

3.  E.  O'Curry,  in  Atlantis,  iii.  387  f.  (1862). 

4.  S.  H.  O'Grady,  ii.  243. 

5.  S.  H.  O'Grady,  in  TOS  iii.  113  f.  (1855);  see  infra,  pp.  171-72. 

6.  For  other  instances  see  infra,  pp.  59,  62-63,  80,  154,  184-85. 

7.  Skene  [a],  i.  532;  J.  G.  Evans,  Llyvyr  Taliesin,  p.  26. 

8.  Guest,  iii.  356  ff. 

9.  E.  Windisch,  in  IT  III.  i.  235  f. 

10.  W.  Stokes,  in  RCel  xv.  444  (1894). 

11.  Larminie,  p.  82. 

12.  Book  of  Fermoy,  131  a;  Nutt  [c],  i.  64  ff. 

13.  MacNeiU,  i.  119  {ITS). 

14.  W.  Stokes,  in  RCel  xv.  307  (1894). 

15.  W.  Stokes,  ib.  xvi.  65  (1895). 

16.  ib.  p.  69. 

17.  W.  Stokes,  ib.  ii.  200  (1874). 

18.  S.  H.  O'Grady,  ii.  311  ff. 


NOTES  337 


Chapter  V 

1.  LU  133  <2,  Harleian  MS.  2,  16;  text  and  translation  in  Nutt 
[c],  i.  42  ff. 

2.  Book  of  Fermoy,  85  a;  Nutt  [c],  i.  58  ff. 

3.  Nutt  [c],  ii.  24  f. 

4.  See  infra,  pp.  73-74. 

5.  Windisch,  Tain,  pp.  342,  366. 

6.  N.  O'Kearney,  in  TOS  ii.  80  (1855). 

7.  Windisch,  Tim,  p.  550. 

8.  E.  Windisch,  in  IT  iii.  2. 

9.  S.  H.  O'Grady,  in  TOS  iii.  87  ff.  (1855). 

10.  "The  Gilla  Backer,"  in  S.  H.  O'Grady,  ii.  300. 

11.  "Diarmaid  and  Grainne,"  in  TOS  iii.  69  ff.  (1855). 

12.  ib.  p.  179. 

13.  LU  63  b;  W.  Stokes,  in  RCel  xvi.  139  (1895);  J.  F.  Campbell 
[c],  p.  xxxix. 

14.  W.  Stokes,  in  RCel  xvi.  62  (1895). 


Chapter  VI 

1.  Text  and  translation  by  K.  Meyer,  in  RCel  x.  212  ff.  (1889); 
cf.  W.  Stokes,  ib.  xv.  465  (1894). 

2.  E.  Windisch,  in  IT  II.  ii.  241  f. 

3.  For  the  meaning  of  this  phrase  see  MacCuUoch  [b],  p.  67, 
note  I. 

4.  LU  J^  a,  yj  a;  Windisch,  Tain,  pp.  306,  312  f. 

5.  LL  119  a;  text  and  translation  by  W.  Stokes,  in  RCel  iii.  175 

(1877). 

6.  Loth,  Mabinogion,  i.  302. 

7.  See  infra,  p.  165. 

8.  Text  and  translation  by  R.  I.  Best,  in  Eriu,  iii.  149  f.  (1907). 

9.  See  infra,  p.  89. 

10.  W.  Stokes,  in  RCel  xvi.  42  (1895). 

11.  J.  O'B.  Crowe,  in  JRHAAI  IV.  i.  94  ff.  (1871);  W.  Stokes,  in. 
RCel  XV.  482  (1894),  xvi.  152  (1895);  see  also  i7ifra,  p.  121. 

12.  W.  Stokes,  in  RCel  xiii.  426!.  (1892). 

13.  D'Arbois,  Cours,  v.  370;  W.  Stokes,  in  RCel  xvi.  45  (1895). 

14.  See  infra,  pp.  156,  179. 

15.  See  infra,  pp.  80-82, 

16.  Book  of  Bally  mote,  139  b. 

17.  See  supra,  p.  70. 


338  CELTIC  MYTHOLOGY 

i8.  Text  and  translation  by  \V.  Stokes,  in  RCel  xxii.  9  fT.  (1901); 
for  the  relation  of  the  different  accounts  of  Conaire  to  each  other, 
see  M.  Nettlau,  ib.  xii.  229  if.  (1891). 


Chapter  VII 

1.  Leahhar  Breac,  Dublin,  1872-76,  p.  242;  O'Curry  [a],  pp. 
426,  632. 

2.  Text  and  translation  from  Egerton  Manuscript  1782  (British 
Museum)  by  E.  Miiller,  in  RCel  iii.  342  f.  (1877). 

3.  O'Curry,  loc.  cit. 

4.  LU  129  b. 

5.  W.  Stokes,  in  RCel  xv.  463  (1894). 

6.  W.  Stokes,  ib.  p.  291 ;  E.  Gwynn,  in  RIJ.TLS  vii.  3,  70  (1900). 
For  the  text  and  translation  of  the  story  of  Etain  see  Leahy,  i.  iff.; 
L.  C.  Stern,  in  ZCP  v.  524  (1905);  E.  Miiller,  in  RCel  iii.  350  (1877); 
A.  Nutt,  ib.  xxvii.  334  (1906). 

7.  Code  of  Manu,  ix.  8  (tr.  G.  Biihler,  in  Sacred  Books  of  the 
East,  XXV,  329  [1886]);  J.  A.  MacCulloch,  "First-Bom  (Introductory 
and  Primitive),"  in  ERE  vi.  34. 

8.  LU  60  a. 

9.  Text  and  translation  by  L.  Duvau,  in  RCel  ix.  i  ff.  (1888); 
d'Arbois,  Cours,  v.  22;  E.  Windisch,  in  77  i.  134  ff. 

10.  LU  120  a,  text  also  in  Windisch,  Kurzgefasste  irische  Gram- 
matik,  p.  120,  translation  by  d'Arbois,  Cours,  v.  385,  where  the  gods' 
land  is  wrongly  regarded  as  the  realm  of  the  dead  (see  MacCulloch 
[b],  p.  374). 

11.  W.  Stokes,  in  IT  iii.  335. 

12.  Lais  de  Marie  de  France,  ed.  K.  Wamke,  pp.  86-112. 

13.  LU  25  h;  text  and  translation  by  W.  Stokes,  in  RCel  x.  63  f. 
(1889);  see  also  d'Arbois,  Cours,  v.  485. 

14.  See  supra,  p.  36. 

15.  Z,f/  43  f.;  E.  Windisch,  in  IT  1.  205  f.;  text  and  translations 
in  Leahy,  i.  51  f.,  E.  O'Curry,  in  Atlantis,  i.  362  f.,  ii.  98  f.  (1858- 
59);  cf.  d'Arbois,  Cours,  v.  170  f. 

16.  S.  H.  O'Grady,  ii.  196. 

17.  Text  and  translations  of  the  versions  by  W.  Stokes,  in  RCel 
xvi.  151  (1895)  and  FL  iii.  510  (1892). 

18.  W.  Stokes,  in  RCel  xv.  437-38  (1894). 

19.  For  instances  see  M.  Jastrow,  Religion  of  Babylonia  and  As- 
syria, Boston,  1898,  p.  550;  Homeric  Hymn  to  Demeter,  399;  G.  Mas- 
pero,  Etudes  de  mythologie  egyptienne,  ii.  226,  Paris,  1893;  J.  Muir, 
Original  Sanskrit  Texts,  London,  1858-72,  v.  320;  G.  Brown,  Melane- 
sians  and  Polynesians,  London,  1910,  p.  194;  C.  G.  Seligmann,  Mel- 


NOTES       '  339 

anesians  of  British  New  Guinea,  Cambridge,  1910,  pp.  656,  734; 
L.  Spence,  in  ERE  iii.  561  (Chinook)  ;  cf.  J.  A.  MacCulloch,  ib.  iv. 
653,  V.  682  (1911-12);  see  also  E.  Westermarcic,  Origin  and  De- 
velopment of  the  Moral  Ideas,  London,  1906-08. 

20.  W.  Stokes,  in  RCel  xvi.  148  (1895). 

21.  LU  s^  b;V^.  Stokes,  in  RCel  xv.  332,  xvi.  73  (1894-95);  d'Ar- 
bois,  Cours,  ii.  364. 

22.  See  pp.  37,  181. 

23.  S.  H.  O'Grady,  ii.  204,  213,  220. 

24.  W.  Stokes,  in  RCel  xv.  312  (1894). 

25.  W.  Stokes,  ib.  p.  441. 

26.  W.  Stokes,  in  RCel  xvi.  78  (1895). 

Chapter    VIII 

1.  Holder,  s.  v.;  W.  Stokes,  in  RCel  xv.  279  (1894). 

2.  Loth,  Mabinogion,  i.  81  f.;  Guest,  iii.  7. 

3.  E.  Anwyl,  in  ZCP  i.  288  (1899). 

4.  Skene  [a],  i.  264;  J.  G.  Evans  in  his  Llyvyr  Taliesin  trans- 
lates the  lines  which  Rhys  and  Skene  agree  as  referring  to  an 
imprisonment  of  Gweir  by  Pwyll  and  Pryderi  in  Caer  Sidi  as 
follows  — 

"  Complete  was  his  victory  at  Whirlpool's  Fort  [Caer  Sidi], 
By  reason  of  extraordinary  thought  and  care." 
Skene's  rendering  is  — 

"Complete  was  the  prison  of  Gweir  in  Caer  Sidi, 
Through  the  spite  of  Pwyll  and  Pryderi." 
Rhys  renders  "spite"  as  "messenger."    The  text  is  Bu  gweir  gyvrang 
yng  Haer  sidi,  drwy  oi  chestol  bwyll  a  phryderi.     Evans  does  not  re- 
gard Gweir,  Pwyll,  and  Pryderi  in  the  text  as  proper  names. 

5.  Loth,  Mabinogion,  i.  301. 

6.  ib.  i.  173  f.;  Guest,  iii.  189  f. 

7.  Loth,  Mabinogion,  i.  195. 

8.  Rhys  [a],  p.  276. 

9.  Cf.  Mythology  of  All  Races,  Boston,  1916,  i.  zj'^-jS. 

10.  Rhys  [c],  p.  157;  J.  G.  Evans,  Llyvyr  Taliesin,  p.  63. 

11.  Skene  [a],  i.  543,  ii.  145. 

12.  ib.  i.  282,  288;  Rhys  [a],  p.  387. 

13.  Loth,  Mabinogion,  i.  301. 

14.  Skene  [a],  i.  286-87. 

15.  Loth,  Mabi7iogion,  i.  300. 

16.  Skene  [a],  i.  275,  278;  Myrvyrian  Archaiology,  i.  167. 

17.  Guest,  iii.  255. 

18.  Loth,  Mabinogion,  i.  119,  151  f.;  Guest,  iii.  81,  143  f. 


340  CELTIC  AHTHOLOGY 

19.  FLR  V.  I  f.  (1878). 

20.  Loth,  Mabmogion,  i.  331;  Geoffrey  of  Monmouth,  Historia 
Britanniae,  ii.  1 1. 

21.  Loth,  Mabinogion,  i.  327. 

22.  Bathurst,  p.  127. 

23.  E.  Anwyl,  in  ZCP  ii.  127  (1899). 

24.  Nutt  [c],  ii.  17. 

25.  Skene  [a],  ii.  51;  J.  G.  Evans,  Llyvyr  Taliesin,  p.  54. 

26.  See  supra,  p.  51. 

27.  Loth,  Mabinogion,  i.  307. 

28.  Elton,  p.  291. 

29.  Skene  [a],  i.  302. 

30.  MacCulloch  [b],  p.  242. 

31.  Rhys  [a],  p.  94  f.,  [c],  ch.  ii;  cf.  MacCulloch  [b],  p.  33.     For 
Yama  see  Mythology  of  All  Races,  Boston,  1917,  vi.  68-70,  159-60. 

32.  Skene  [a],  i.  298. 

33.  Geoffrey  of  Monmouth,  Historia  Britanniae,  iii.  i  f. 

34.  Loth,  Mabinogion,  i.  119,  360. 

35.  Geoffrey  of  Monmouth,  Historia  Britanniae,  iv.  i  f. 

36.  Skene  [a],  i.  431. 

37.  Rhys  [a],  p.  90,  et  passim. 

38.  Geoffrey  of  Monmouth,  Historia  Britanniae,  iii.  20. 

39.  Loth,  Mabinogion,  i.  131  f. 

40.  See  supra,  pp.  24-25. 

41.  Loth,  Mabinogion,  i.  233. 

42.  Rhys  [a],  p.  609. 

43.  Itinerarium  Cambriae,  i.  8. 

44.  See  infra,  p.  194. 

45.  Skene  [a],  i.  293. 

46.  Loth,  Mabinogion,  i.  284,  315,  331. 

47.  Train,  ii.  118. 

48.  See  supra,  p.  57. 

49.  E.  Anwyl,  in  ZCP  i.  293  (1899). 

50.  See  supra,  p.  57. 

51.  Guest,  iii.  356  f. 

52.  Skene  [a],  i.  260,  274  f.,  278,  281  f.,  286  f.;  J.  G.  Evans,  Llyvyr 
Taliesin,  pp.  10  ff.,  27  ff. 

53.  See  supra,  p.  104;  J.  G.  Evans,  op.  cit.  p.  64  f. 

54.  See  infra,  p.  166. 

55.  Skene  [a],  i.  265;  J.  G.  Evans,  op.  cit.  p.  127. 

56.  MacCulloch  [b],  p.  118. 

57.  Cf.  Mythology  of  All  Races,  Boston,  1916,  x.  5-7. 

58.  See  supra,  p.  100. 

59.  Skene  [a],  i.  275. 


NOTES  341 

60.  Skene  [a],  i.  260,  498,  500,  il.  5,  234;  W.  O.  Pughe,  Dictionary 
of  Welsh,  London,  1803,  s.  v. 

61.  N.  Thomas,  in  RHR  xxxviii.  339  (1898). 

62.  J.  Rhys,  "Welsh  Fairy  Tales,"  in   Y  Cymmrodor,  iv.   163  ff. 
(1881);  cf.  also  Rhys  [d],  passim. 

63.  S.  H.  O'Grady,  ii.  94  f. 


Chapter  IX 

1.  Text  and  translation  in  Nutt  [c],  i.  2  f. 

2.  S.  H.  O'Grady,  ii.  198  f.;  see  also  supra,  p.  89. 

3.  S.  H.  O'Grady,  ii.  238. 

4.  Strabo,  iv.  6  (=  p.  198,  ed.  Casaubon);  Mela,  lii.  6;  see  Mac- 
Culloch  [b],  p.  385  f. 

5.  E.  Windisch,  in  IT  iii.  183  f.;  S.  H.  O'Grady,  in  TOS  iii.  213  f. 

(1857). 

6.  E.  O'Curry,  in  Atlantis,  iii.  387  (1862). 

7.  Nutt  [c],  i.  52  f. 

8.  ib.  i.  56  f. 

9.  LL  246  a. 

10.  Holder,  s.  v.  "Braciaca." 

11.  Cf.   Mythology   of  All  Races,   Boston,    1 91 6-1 7,   x.   46-48,   i. 
218  ff. 

12.  See  pp.  95-96,  151,  192. 

13.  Z)<j  Derga's  Hostel,  ed.  W.  Stokes,  in  RCel  xxii.  14  (1901). 

14.  W.  Stokes,  in  RCel  xv.  546  (1894);  O'Curry  [b],  ii.  142  f. 

15.  W.  Stokes,  in  FL  iii.  506  (1892). 

16.  W.  Stokes,  in  RCel  xv.  315  (1894);  S.  H.  O'Grady,  ii.  519;  LL 
209  b. 

17.  S.  H.  O'Grady,  ii.  390. 

18.  ib.  ii.  253. 

19.  See  supra,  p.  29. 

20.  O'Curry  [a],  pp.  388,  621. 

21.  Skene  [a],  i.  285. 

22.  See  infra,  pp.  194-95. 

23.  MacDougall,  p.  261. 

24.  Hyde  [c],  p.  440. 

25.  Cf.  Mythology  of  All  Races,  Boston,  1916,  i.  147-48. 

26.  Nutt  [c],  i.  276,  289. 

27.  MacCulloch  [b],  p.  373. 


342  CELTIC  MYTHOLOGY 


Chapter  X 

1.  Holder,  s.  v.;  cf.  also  MacCulloch  [b],  ch.  xiv. 

2.  E.  Windisch,  in  IT  i.  96  f.;  W.  Stokes,  in  RCel  xvi.  63  (1895). 

3.  See  infra,  pp.  187-88. 

4.  See  infra,  p.  177. 

5.  K.  Meyer,  in  RIA:TLS  xvi.  65  (1910). 

6.  W.  Stokes,  in  RCel  xv.  426,  474  (1894). 

7.  W.  Stokes,  ib.  xiii.  449  (1892),  xv.  470  (1894). 

8.  J.  O'Daly,  in  TOS  vi.  133  (1861). 

9.  J.  F.  Campbell  [b],  i.  53. 

10.  W.  Stokes,  in  RCel  xv.  421,  471,  473  (1894). 

11.  S.  H.  O'Grady,  ii.  574. 

12.  LL  6g  a;  LU  64.  b;  Windisch,  Tain,  pp.  184,  188. 

13.  O'Curry  [a],  p.  388. 

14.  Leahy,  ii.  105;  W.  Stokes,  in  IT  iii.  295. 

15.  Rhys  [d],  passim. 

16.  J.  O'Daly,  in  TOS  vi.  223  (1861). 

17.  W.  Stokes,  in  RCel  xii.  104  (1891);  S.  H,  O'Grady,  ii.  199;  E. 
O'Curry,  in  Atlantis,  iv.  163  (1863). 

18.  S.  H.  O'Grady,  ii.  292  f. 

19.  Fled  Bricrend,  ed.  G.  Henderson,  London,  1899,  p.  38  {ITS). 

20.  W.  Stokes,  in  RCel  xii.  347  (1891). 

21.  Loth,  Mabinogion,  i.  303;  Guest,  ii.  269  f. 

22.  S.  H.  O'Grady,  ii.  123, 

23.  See  Plates  VHI,  XH,  XVI,  XXV. 

24.  See  supra,  pp.  24-25,  47,  107-08. 

25.  Text  and  translation  by  A.  O.  Anderson,  in  RCel  xxiv.  126  ff. 
(1903);  Leahy,  ii.  3  ff.;  G.  Henderson,  in  J.  F.  Campbell  [c],  p.  i  ff.; 
J.  O'B.  Crowe,  in  RIA:IMS  i.  134  ff.  (1870). 

26.  Dean  of  Lismore^s  Book,  ed.  and  tr.  T.  McLauchlan,  Edin- 
burgh, 1862,  p.  54  f.;  G.  Henderson,  in  J.  F.  Campbell  [c],  p.  18  f. 

27.  See  supra,  pp.  54-55,  66. 

28.  Cf.  Mythology  of  All  Races,  Boston,  1916,  i.  87-88. 

29.  See  supra,  p.  11. 

30.  N.  O'Keamey,  in  TOS  ii.  51,  69  (1855);  for  parallel  instances 
of  the  "swallow"  motif  among  the  North  American  Indians  see 
Mythology  of  All  Races,  Boston,  1916,  x.  69,  79,  139. 

31.  LU  113;  J.  O'B.  Crowe,  in  JRHAAI  IV.  i.  371  f.  (1870). 

32.  W.  Stokes,  in  RCel  xv.  304  (1894);  S.  H.  O'Grady,  ii.  523. 

33.  S.  H.  O'Grady,  in  TOS  iii.  125  (1855). 

34.  W.  Stokes,  in  RCel  xvi.  32  (1895). 


NOTES  343 

35.  W.  Stokes,  ib.  xv.  326  (1894). 

36.  W.  Stokes,  ib.  xvi.  72  (1895). 

37.  W.  Stokes,  ib.  p.  77. 

38.  W.  Stokes,  ib.  xv.  295  (1894). 

39.  W.  Stokes,  ib.  p.  434. 

40.  W.  Stokes,  ib.  i.  256  (1870). 

41.  LL  82  b,  86  b;  Windisch,   Tain,  pp.  477,  547  (cf.  also  pp.  338, 
366). 

42.  Fled  Bricrend,  ed.  G.  Henderson,  London,  1 899,  p.  84  (ITS). 

43.  N.  O'Kearney,  in  TOS  i.  107  (1853). 

44.  Cf.  supra,  p.  34.. 

45.  LL  76  a,  69  a;  Windisch,  Tain,  pp.  338,  191. 


Chapter  XI 

1.  Sebillot  [a];  cf.  also  the  same  scholar  [b]. 

2.  See  supra,  p.  73,  and  cf.  p.  135. 

3.  For  these  see  the  Rennes  Dind'senchas,  ed.  and  tr.  W.  Stokes, 
in  RCel  xv.  429  f.,  483  (1894),  xvi.  50,  65,  146,  153,  164  (1895). 

4.  W.  Stokes,  ib.  xv.  302  (1894). 

5.  See  MacCulloch  [a],  pp.  167  if. 

6.  Windisch,  Tain,  pp.  869,  886. 

7.  D'Arbois,  Cours,  v.  10. 

8.  W.  Stokes,  in  RCel  xv.  460,  284,  xvi.  44,  xv.  279  (1894-95). 

9.  LL  16  b. 

[O.  See  supra,  pp.  42,  81. 
:i.  W.  Stokes,  in  RCel  xii.  95  (1891). 
[2,  W.  Stokes,  ib.  p.  71. 

[3.  O.  Connellan,  in  TOS  v.  96  (i860);  S.  O'Grady,  i.  84. 
[4.  W.  Stokes,  in  RCel  xv.  279  (1894). 
[5.  See  supra,  p.  75. 
[6.  W.  Stokes,  in  RCel  xvi  51  (1895). 
[7.  See  supra,  pp.  54-55j  87,  131. 

[8.  W.  Stokes,  in  RCel  xv.  421  (1894),  xvi.  279  (1895). 
[9.  D.  Fitzgerald,  ib.  iv.  185  (1879). 
20.  See  supra,  pp.  9-17. 


Chapter  XII 

1.  E.  Windisch,  in  IT  i.  210. 

2.  D'Arbois,  Cours,  v.  14;  K.  Meyer,  in  RCel  vi.  174  (1884). 

3.  Coir  Anmann,  ed.  W.  Stokes,  m  IT  iii.  393. 

4.  See  supra,  pp.  64-65,  83. 
Ill— 23 


344  CELTIC  MYTHOLOGY 

5.  LL  58  a;  W.  Stokes,  In  IT  iii.  282. 

6.  E.  Windisch,  in  IT  \.  211. 

7.  LU  loi  b;  LL  123  b. 

8.  Windisch,  Taxn,  pp.  345,  669. 

9.  ib.  p.  106  f. 

10.  LU  59  b. 

11.  Windisch,  Tain,  p.  118. 

12.  For  the  meaning  of  this  term  cf.  Mythology  of  All  Races, 
Boston,  1916,  X.  17  fT. 

13.  Eriu,  vii.  208  (1914). 

14.  Cf.  Fled  Bricrend,  ed.  G.  Henderson,  London,  1899,  p.  67 
{ITS);  Caesar,  De  bello  Gallico,  vii.  47. 

15.  Windisch,  Tain,  p.  130  f. 

16.  In  his  conversation  with  Emer,  Cuchulainn  boasted  of  his 
greatness,  trustworthiness,  and  wisdom,  and  said  that,  taught  by 
Cathbad,  he  was  "an  adept  in  the  arts  of  the  god  of  Druidism." 

17.  Cf.  Mythology  of  All  Races,  Boston,  1916,  i.  34-35. 

18.  Two  versions  are  here  combined  —  "The  Wooing  of  Emer" 
(Tochmarc  Entire),  ed.  K.  Meyer,  in  RCel  xi.  442  f.  (1890),  and  "The 
Training  of  Cuchulainn"  {Foglaim  Chonculaind),  ed,  W.  Stokes,  ib. 
xxix.  109  f.  (1908). 

19.  W.  Stokes,  ib.  xvi.  46  (1895). 

20.  See  Mythology  of  All  Races,  Boston,  1917,  vi.  332. 

21.  See  supra,  pp.  124-25;  E.  Windisch,  'm.  IT  \.  96  f.;  A.  H.  Leahy, 
i.  41. 

22.  Athenaeus,  Deipnosophistai,  iv.  40. 

23.  Poseidonius,  in  Athenaeus,  Deipnosophistai,  iv.  40. 

24.  Fled  Bricrend,  ed.  G.  Henderson,  London,  1899  {ITS);  E. 
Windisch,  in  / 7"  i.  235;  d'Arbois,  Cours,  v.  81  f. 

25.  See  Mythology  of  All  Races,  Boston,  1917,  xii.  41,  49. 

26.  E.  Windisch,  in  IT  ii.  173;  d'Arbois,  Cours,  v.  149  f. 

27.  G.  Keating,  ii.  223  {ITS);  O'Curry  [b],  iii.  81. 

28.  J.  O'B.  Crowe,  in  JRIIAAI  IV.  i.  371  f.  (1870);  cf.  supra, 
pp.  131-32. 

29.  Keating,  ii.  223  f.  {ITS). 

30.  W.  Stokes,  in  RCel  xv.  449  (1894);  Keating,  ii.  235  {ITS). 

31.  R.  Thumeysen,  in  ZCP  ix.  189  f.  (1913);  J.  Baudis,  in  Eriu, 
vii.  200  f.  (1914);  cf.  MacCuIloch  [a],  ch.  v. 

32.  Skene  [a],  i.  25^;  cf.  Loth,  Mabinogion,  i.  261. 

33.  R.  I.  Best,  in  Eriu,  iii.  163  (1907)., 

34.  O'Curry  [b],  ii.  97. 

35.  See  supra,  p.  127. 

36.  See  supra,  pp.  73-74. 

37.  See  supra,  p.  71. 


NOTES  345 

38.  See  supra,  pp.  64-65. 

39.  See  JM^ra,  pp.  130-31. 

40.  Text  and  translation  of  the  version  in  LL  by  Windisch,  Tain; 
text  of  the  version  in  LU  and  Book  of  Lecan,  ed.  J.  Strachan  and 
J.  G.  O'Keeffe,  in  Eriu,  i.  (1904),  translation  by  L.  Winifred  Faraday, 
The  Cattle  Raid  of  Cualnge,  London,  1904.  See  also  Hull  [c].  For 
references  in  the  Dindsenchas  see  W.  Stokes,  in  RCel  xv.  464,  xvi. 
156  (1894-95). 

41.  See  supra,  pp.  31,  100. 

42.  Text  and  translation  by  W.  Stokes,  in  RCel  iii.  175  f.  (1877); 
cf.  d'Arbois,  Cours,  v.  330  f.;  Hull  [c],  p.  253  f. 

43.  O'Curry  [a],  p.  479. 

44.  ib. 

45.  W.  Stokes,  in  RCel  xv.  472  (1894);  S.  H.  O'Grady,  ii.  525. 

46.  W.  Stokes,  in  RCel  viii.  49  f.  (1887);  O'Curry  [a],  p.  637;  Hull 
[c],  pp.  87,  267. 

47.  Rhys  [e],  p.  316. 

48.  D'Arbois  [b],  pp.  25,  65  f.,  RCel  xx.  89  (1899). 

49.  D'Arbois  [b],  p.  63,  RCel  xix.  246  (1898),  xxviii.  41  (1907);  cf. 
S.  Reinach,  in  RCel  xviii.  253  f.  (1897). 

50.  Caesar,  De  bello  Gallico,  vii.  65;  d'Arbois  [b],  p.  49,  and  RCel 
xxvii.  324  (1906). 

51.  Diodorus  Siculus,  iv.  56;  for  the  Dioscuri  see  Mythology  of  All 
Races,  Boston,  191 6,  i.  26-27,  247,  301-02. 

52.  D'Arbois  [b],  p.  57  f.;  cf.  supra,  p.  129. 

53.  See  supra,  pp.  28-29. 

54.  Caesar,  De  bello  Gallico,  vi.  17;  d'Arbois  [b],  p.  39  f.,  and  RCel 
xxvii.  313  f.  (1906);  cf.  S.  Reinach,  in  RCel  xi.  224  (1890). 

Chapter  XHI 

1.  N.  O'Kearney,  in  TOS  i.  32  f.  (1853). 

2.  Maclnness  and  Nutt,  p.  407;  MacNeill,  i.,  p.  xxvi  (ITS). 

3.  MacNeill,  i.,  p.  xxxii  {ITS). 

4.  LU  16  b;  LL  4  b,  127  a;  W.  Stokes,  in  RCel  xv.  300  (1894). 

5.  Ed.  and  tr.  D.  Comyn,  Dublin,  1902,  and  J.  O'Donovan,  in 
TOS  iv.  281  ff.  (1859). 

6.  S.  H.  O'Grady,  ii.  203. 

7.  Comyn,  p.  18  f. 

8.  LU  41  b;  W.  M.  Hennessy,  in  RCel  ii.  86  f.  (1873). 

9.  See  supra,  p.  25. 

10.  S.  H.  O'Grady,  ii.  131,  225,  245. 

11.  D'Arbois  [b],  p.  53;  Holder,  s.  v.  "Camulos";  K.  Meyer,  in 
RCel  xxxii.  390  (1911). 


346  CELTIC  MYTHOLOGY 

12.  MacNeill,  i.  33,  133  (ITS). 

13.  Comyn,  p.  23  f. 

14.  MacNeill,  i.  134  (ITS). 

15.  S.  H.  O'Grady,  ii.  142  f. 

16.  LU  41  b. 

17.  Comyn,  p.  41  f.;  cf.  K.  Meyer,  in  RCel  v.  201  (1882);  N. 
O'Kearaey,  in  TOS  ii.  174  (1855). 

18.  See  supra,  pp.  109-10. 

19.  J.  Grimm,  Teutonic  Mythology,  London,  1879-89,  p.  690;  J. 
G.  Frazer,  in  JR  i.  172  f.  (1888);  M.  R.  Cox,  Cinderella,  London, 
1893;  Miss  Buckland,  in  JJI  xxii.  29  (1893);  W.  H.  Dall,  Third 
Annual  Report  of  the  Bureau  oj  American  Ethnology  (1884). 

20.  K.  Meyer,  in  RCel  xxv.  345  (1904). 

21.  Comyn,  p.  50. 

22.  Curtin  [a],  p.  204. 

23.J. F.Campbell  [b],i.33  f.,  [a],  iii.  348  f.;  J.G.Campbell  [c],p.  16  f. 

24.  S.  H.  O'Grady,  ii.  172. 

25.  N.  O'Keamey,  in  TOS  i.  13  (1853);  S.  H.  O'Grady,  ii.  221. 

26.  J.  F.  Campbell  [b],  i.  198. 

27.  S.  H.  O'Grady,  ii.  163. 

28.  W.  Stokes,  in  RCel  xv.  333  (1894). 

29.  N.  O'Kearney,  in  TOS  ii.  167  f.  (1855). 

30.  K.  Meyer,  in  RIA.TLS  xvi.  22  f.  (1910);  cf.  supra,  p.  145. 

31.  N.  O'Keamey,  in  TOS  ii.  161  (1855). 

32.  Text  and  translation  by  W.  Stokes,  in  RCel  vii.  289  (1886); 
cf.  MacNeill,  i.  28,  127  (ITS). 

33.  Joyce  [a],  p.  177. 

34.  J.  G.  Campbell  [c],  p.  74. 

35.  O'Curry  [b],  ii.  345;  MacNeill,  i.  207  (ITS). 

36.  MacNeill,  i.  p.  xxxvii  (ITS). 

37.  J.  G.  Campbell,  in  SCR  i.  115,  241  (1881);  J.  F.  Campbell 
[b],  i.  68;  J.  G.  Campbell  [c],  p.  131. 

38.  J.  G.  Campbell,  in  SCR  loc.  cit.;  A.  MacBain,  in  CM  ix.  130 
(1884). 

39.  Aristotle,  Nicom.  Ethics,  iii.  77,  Eud.  Ethics,  IIL  i.  25;  Sto- 
baeus,  Eclogae,  vii.  40;  iElian,  Varia  Historia,  xii.  22. 

40.  A.  Kelleher  and  G.  Schoepperle,  in  RCel  xxxii.  184  f.  (191 1). 

41.  MacNeill,  i.  30,  130  {ITS). 

42.  ib.  i.  38,  140;  see  supra,  pp.  68-69. 

43.  See  supra,  p.  128. 

44.  S.  H.  O'Grady,  ii.  292  f.;  Joyce  [a],  p.  253  f. 

45.  See  supra,  p.  102. 

46.  S.  H.  O'Grady,  ii.  222-31. 

47.  ib.  ii.  247  f. 


NOTES  347 

48.  S.  H.  O'Grady,  ii.  141,  146. 

49.  ib.  ii.  300;  O.  Connellan,  in  TOS  v.  69  (i860). 

50.  MacNeill,  ii.  5,  loi  {ITS). 

51.  S.  H.  O'Grady,  ii.  331;  W.  Stokes,  in  RCel  xvi.  147  (1895). 

52.  MacNeill,  i.  21,  118  {ITS)\  Comyn,  p.  20. 

53.  See  supra.,  p.  29;  MacNeill,  ii.  34,  134  {ITS). 

54.  Cath  Finntrdga,  ed.  and  tr.  K.  Meyer,  Oxford,  1885,  pp.  13,  32. 

55.  J.  F.  Campbell  [b],  i.  65;  MacDougall,  p.  268. 

56.  K.  Meyer,  in  RU.TLS  xvi.  51  (1910). 

57.  ib.  p.  xxiii. 

58.  J.  H.  Lloyd,  O.  J.  Bergin,  and  G.  Schoepperle,  in  RCel  xxxiii. 
40  f.  (1912). 

59.  J.  H.  Lloyd,  O.  J.  Bergin,  and  G.  Schoepperle,  ib.  p.  160. 

60.  ib.  p.  157. 

61.  According  to  Keating,  the  Tuatha  De  Danann,  when  in 
Greece,  quickened  dead  Athenians  by  their  lore,  sending  demons 
into  them. 

62.  Text  and  translation  by  S.  H.  O'Grady,  in  TOS  iii  (1857). 

63.  MacNeill,  i.  45,  149  {ITS). 

64.  J.  F.  Campbell  [a],  iii.  49. 

65.  W.  Stokes,  in  RCel  xv.  448  (1894). 

66.  J.  G.  Campbell  [c],  p.  53  f. 

67.  K.  Meyer-  in  RCel  xi.  131  (1890). 

68.  MacNeill,  i.  120,  121,  165,  200  {ITS);].  F.  Campbell  [b],  i.  164. 

69.  N.  O'Kearney,  in  TOS  i.  68  f.  (1853);  J.  F.  Campbell  [b],  i.  182. 

70.  S.  H.  O'Grady,  ii.  98. 

71.  K.  Meyer,  in  RU.TLS  xvi.  69  (1910);  cf.  introd.,  p.  xxv. 

72.  S.  H.  O'Grady,  ii.  167. 

73.  J.  F.  Campbell  [a],  iv.  242,  [b],  i.  195;  MacDougall,  pp.  73,  283. 

74.  Nutt  [c],  i.  51. 

75.  S.  H.  O'Grady,  ii.  1:02,  158-59. 

76.  J.  F.  Campbell  [b],  i.  198. 

77.  J.  O'Daly,  in  TOS  iv.  233  (1859). 

78.  Curtin  [a],  p.  327  f. 

79.  N.  O'Kearney,  in  TOS  i.  20  f.  (1853);  J.  O'Daly,  ib.  iv.  243  f. 

(1859)- 

80.  N.  O'Kearney,  ib.  i.  131  f.  (1853). 

81.  S.  H.  O'Grady,  ib.  iii.  230  f.  (1857). 

82.  N.  O'Kearney,  ib.  i.  93  (1853);  S.  H.  O'Grady,  ib.  iii.  257, 
291  (1857);  for  other  poems  see  the  other  volumes  of  this  series,  as 
well  as  K.  Meyer,  in  RU.TLS  xvi  (1910);  Dean  of  Lismore's  Book, 
ed.  and  tr.  T.  McLauchlan,  Edinburgh,  1862. 

83.  D.  Hyde,  in  RCel  xiii.  417  f.  (1892). 


348  CELTIC  M^TTHOLOGY 


Chapter  XIV 

1.  Historia  Britonum,  §  50. 

2.  De  excidio  Britanjiiae,  §  26. 

3.  Historia  re  gum  Britaimiae,  viii.  19  ff.) 

4.  See  supra,  pp.  62-63. 

5.  See  supra,  pp.  66-67. 

6.  E.  Anwyl,  in  ^'i?^  ii.  i. 

7.  Holder,  j.  w.  "Artaios,"  "Artos";  Rhys  [c],  p.  39  f. 

8.  Loth,  Mabinogion,  i.  243  f. 

9.  See  supra,  p.  181,  on  the  king  of  Tir  na  nOg. 

10.  See  supra,  pp.  28-29. 

11.  Loth,  Mabinogion,  i.  256. 

12.  Maclnness  and  Nutt,  p.  53. 

13.  Skene  [a],  i.  261  f.,  ii.  458;  Loth,  Mabinogion,  i.  310. 

14.  Skene  [a],  i.  295. 

15.  See  supra,  p.  iii. 

16.  Loth,  Mabinogion,  i.  328,  337.    In  Geoffrey  (ix.  4)  Prytvvenn 
is  Arthur's  shield. 

17.  Skene  [a],  i.  265;  J.  G.  Evans,  Llyvyr  Taliesin,  p.  127. 

18.  See  supra,  p.  151. 

19.  Loth,  Mabinogion,  i.  307,  334. 

20.  ib.  i.  305;  see  also  supra,  pp.  112,  120. 

21.  ib.  i.  259,  269. 

22.  ib.  i.  278. 

23.  ib.  i.  260. 

24.  Cf.  supra,  pp.  130-31,  154. 

25.  Weston  [f],  ii.  205  f. 

26.  Rhys  [c],  p.  335. 

27.  See  supra,  pp.  180-81. 

28.  Weston  [f],  ii.  iii. 

29.  Layamon,  Brut,  ed.  F.  Madden,  ii.  144,  384. 

30.  Otia  Imperialia,  ed.  F.  Liebrecht,  p.  12. 

31.  Stuart-Glennie  [a];  Hartland  [a],  p.  207;  Nutt  [b],  p.  198. 

32.  Cf.  E.  Anwyl,  in  ERE  ii.  5. 

33.  Weston  [f],  i.  287. 

34.  ib.  i.  288  f.,  ii.  250,  [e],  p.  81  f.;  Loth,  Mabinogion,  i.  introd., 

P-  72. 

35.  See  Windisch,  Tain,  p.  xxxix. 

36.  Loth,  Mabinogion,  i.  288. 

37.  Weston  [a],  p.  32  f. 

38.  ib.  ch.  viii,  [b],  p.  46  f. 


NOTES  349 

39.  F.  Madden,  Sir  Gawayne,  p.  xxxll. 

40.  Rhys  [c],  p.  21;  Malory,  Morte  (T Arthur^  i.  19. 

41.  Loth,  Mabinogion,  i.  274,  286. 

42.  ib.  i.  286  f.,  318  f. 

43.  lb.  i.  330,  338. 

44.  Rhys  [c],  p.  59. 

45.  Historia  regum  Britanniae,  ix.  1 1,  x.  3. 

46.  Loth,  Mabinogion,  i.  286. 

47.  Historia  regum  Britanniae,  x.  3,  9. 

48.  Historia  Britonum,  §  40  f. 

49.  Gildas,  De  excidio  Britanniae,  §  25. 

50.  Geoffrey,  Historia  regum  Britanniae,  vi.  17-viu.  20. 

51.  Weston  [f],  ii.  112. 

52.  See  supra,  p.  165. 

53.  See  supra,  pp.  72,  52. 

54.  Weston  [g]. 

55.  Weston  [f],  i.  330  f.,  ii.  249  f.;  cf.  also  [e],  p.  75  f. 

56.  K.  Meyer,  "Eine  verschollene  Artursage,"  in  Festschrift  Ernst 
Windisch  .  .  .  dargebracht,  Leipzig,  1914,  pp.  63-67,  believes  that 
he  has  found  allusions  to  Arthur  in  Irish  literature. 


Chapter  XV 

1.  LL  4  h,  12  a. 

2.  LL  4  h;  J.  O'Daly,  in  TOS  iv.  244  f.  (1859);  d'Arbois,  Cours, 
ii.  76  f. 

3.  LU  15;  Harleian  MS.  3.  18,  p.  38. 

4.  See  supra,  pp.  109-10,  112,  57-59. 

5.  See  supra,  pp.  51-52. 

6.  Book  of  Fermoy,  p.  iii  f.;  in  RIA:IMS  i.  46  f.  (1870). 

7.  J.  O'B.  Crowe,  in  JRHAAI  IV.  i.  94  f.  (1870). 

8.  D'Arbois,  Cours,  v.  18;  Hull  [c],  p.  4;  O'Curry  [a],  p.  637  f,; 
K.  Meyer,  in  RIA.TLS  xiv.  17  (1906). 

9.  W.  Stokes,  in  RCel  iii.  185  (1877). 

10.  LU  37  a;  J.  O'B.  Crowe,  in  JRHAAI  IV.  i.  371  f.  (1870). 

11.  Text  and  translation  by  S.  H.  O'Grady,  and  by  W.  Stokes,  in 
IT  IV.  i.  I  ff. 

12.  S.  H.  O'Grady,  ii.  103  f.,  107,  179. 

13.  ib.  ii.  136,  147,  168;  other  prophecies  of  Fionn's  are  given  by 
O'Curry  [a],  p.  393  f. 

14.  E.  O'Curry,  in  Atlantis,  iv.  115  f.  (1863);  see  supra,  p.  51. 

15.  Text  and  translation  in  Nutt  [c],  i.  87  f.,  cf.  ii.  8,  30  f. 

16.  ib.  i.  14,  22. 

17.  E.  O'Curry  [a],  p.  30  f. 


350  CELTIC  MYTHOLOGY 

i8.  See  supra,  p.  183. 

19.  J.  O'B.  Crowe,  in  JRHAAI  IV.  i.  371  f.  (1870). 

20.  S.  H.  O'Grady,  ii.  179. 

21.  Guest,  iii.  325. 

22.  Kulhwch  and  Olwen,  in  Loth,  Mabinogion,  i.  314. 

23.  W.  Stokes,  in  RCel  xv.  468  (1894). 


SLAVIC 


Introduction 

1.  Chronicon,  i.  3,  7,  14,  iii.  19,  v.  23,  vi.  17-18,  23-25,  38,  vlii. 
59,  64-65,  69. 

2.  ii.  18-19,  iii-  SO5  5^)  605  Descriptio  insularum  Aquilonis,  18. 

3.  i.  2,  6,  13,  21-23,  38.  52,  69,  83,  93,  163,  ii.  12. 

4.  Gesta  Danorum,  pp.  444-45,  505,  564  ff.,  574-75»  577>  578- 

5.  Ixxxvi,  cxxi— cxxii. 

6.  Herbord,  ii.  31-33,  35,  iii.  6-7,  22-23,  26;  Ebbo,  ii.  13,  iii. 
I,  8. 

7.  X,  xxxviii-xxxix,  Ixv  (tr.  Leger,  pp.  9-10,  61-68,  148-53). 

8.  Ed.  and  tr.  A.  Boltz,  Berlin,  1854,  tr.  H.  von  Paucker,  Berlin, 
1884,  ed.  O.  Partytzkiy,  Lwow,  1884. 

9.  De  hello  Gothico,  iii.  14. 

ID.  Les  Prairies  d'or,  ed.  and  tr.  C.  Barbier  de  Meynard  and 
Pavet  de  Courteille,  Paris,  1861-77,  especially  ii.  9,  iii.  63-64,  iv. 
58-60. 

11.  UAhrege  des  merveilles,  tr.  Carra  de  Vaux,  Paris,  1898,  pp. 
115-16. 

12.  i.  4,  ii.  8,  iii.  I,  8,  136. 

13.  Homiliar,  pp.  4,  54,  57,  74,  79. 

14.  Opera,  Cracow,  1873,  x.  47-48  (cf.  the  discussion  of  the  pas- 
sage by  A.  Briickner,  in  ASP  xiv.  170-82  [1892]). 

15.  See  A.  Briickner,  in  ASP  xiv.  183-91  (1892). 

Part  I 

1.  Cf.  Krek,  Einleitung,  pp.  424-39;  Leger,  Mythologie,  pp.  204- 
10;  O.  Schrader,  "Death  and  Disposal  of  the  Dead  (Slavic),"  in 
Encyclopedia  of  Religion  and  Ethics,  iv.  508-09. 

2.  C.  M.  Frahn,  Ihn  Foszlan's  und  anderer  Araher  Berichte  uber 
die  Russen  dlterer  Zeit,  Petrograd,  1823,  pp.  10-21;  cf.  also  Leo 
Diaconus,  Historia,  ix.  6. 

3.  Les  Prairies  d^or,  ii.  9,  iii.  63-64. 

4.  On  this  custom  and  its  significance  see  0.  Schrader,  Toten- 
hochzeit,  Jena,  1904. 


352  SLAVIC  MYTHOLOGY 

5.  Chronica  Polonum,  ed.  A.  Przezdziecki,  Cracow,  1862,  pp. 
28-29. 

6.  De  sacrificiis  et  idolatria  veterum  Borussorum,  Livonum,  aliar- 
umque  vicinarum  gentium,  Konigsberg,  1551;  the  most  generally  ac- 
cessible text  is  in  SRL  ii.  389-92. 

7.  With  this  we  may  compare  the  Baltic  feast  of  the  dead  which 
was  held  from  about  September  29  to  October  28,  whence  October 
was  called  Walla  IVIanes  ("Month  of  Wels,"  Wels  being  a  god  of 
the  dead),  Semlicka  Manes  (Lettish  semme  likt,  "to  lay  [sacrifices] 
on  the  earth  "),  or  Deewa  Deenes  ("God's  Days  ").  In  Lithuania 
the  festival  was  termed  Ilgi  (Lithuanian  ilgas,  "long").  Cf.  Ein- 
horn  (t  1655),  Historia  Lettica,  iv,  v,  xiii  (ed.  in  SRL  ii.  585,  587, 
598),  Reformatio  gentis  Letticae,  vii  (ed.  ib.  p.  630);  Guagnini,  f. 
61  a. 

8.  i.  83. 

9.  i.  s. 

10.  Cf.  Leger,  Mythologie,  pp.  158-62. 

11.  De  bello  Gothico,  iii.  14. 

12.  Cf.  Leger,  Mythologie,  pp.  164-65,  and  the  passages  collected 
by  Krek,  Einleitung,  pp.  384,  note  i,  407-08. 

13.  See,  however.  Mythology  of  All  Races,  Boston,  1916,  i.  291. 

14.  Cf.  Leger,  Mythologie,  pp.  201-03. 

15.  See  infra,  pp.  311-12. 

16.  De  bello  Gothico,  iii.  14. 

17.  See   the   references   collected   by   Krek,   Einleitung,   pp.    384, 
note  I,  407,  note  i,  and  cf.  Leger,  Mythologie,  pp.  166-77. 

18.  Ibrahim  ibn  Vaslfshah,  UAbrege  des  merveilles,  p.  115. 

19.  Homiliar,  p.  4. 


20.  See  infra,  p.  297. 


Part  II 


1.  De  bello  Gothico,  iii.  14;  for  the  Antae  cf.  Krek,  Einleitung, 
pp.  292-96. 

2.  i.  83.^ 

3.  e.  g.  in  the  Chronicle  of  Hypatius  (an  Old  Slavic  paraphrase  of 
the  Byzantine  historian  Georgios  Hamartolos),  cited  by  Krek, 
Einleitung,  p.  378,  note  2. 

4.  See  infra,  pp.  297-98. 

5.  Cf.  S.  Zaborowski,  "Les  Origines  des  Slaves,"  in  Bulletins  et 
memoires  de  la  societe  d' anthropologie  de  Paris,  V.  v.  671-720  (1904); 
abridged  English  translation  in  Smithsonian  Report,  1906,  pp.  399- 
422. 

6.  vi.  18. 


NOTES  353 

7.  Saxo  Grammaticus,  pp.  564  ff. 

8.  See  supra,  pp.  335-36. 

9.  Saxo  Grammaticus,  p.  577;  Knytlingasaga,  cxxii. 

10.  Saxo  Grammaticus,  p.  578;  Knytlingasaga,  cxxii. 

11.  Saxo  Grammaticus,  p.  578. 

12.  Herbord,  iii.  6;  Ebbo,  iii.  8. 

13.  See  supra,  p.  280. 

14.  Chronicle  of  Pulkawa^  in  Fontes  rerum  Bohemicarum,  v.  89, 
Prague,  1893. 

15.  The  chief  sources  for  Triglav  are  Herbord,  ii.  31;  Ebbo,  ii.  13, 
iii.  i;  Monk  of  Priefling,  Fita  Ottonis  episcopi  Babenhergensis,  iii.  I. 

16.  The  name  appears  in  various  forms,  Rhetari,  Redarii,  Riaduri, 
Riediries,  etc.,  as  does  that  of  their  capital,  Riedegost,  etc. 

17.  vi.  23. 

18.  Epistola  Brunonis  ad  Henricum  regent,  ed.  A.  Bielowski,  in 
Monumenta  Poloniae  historica,  i.  226,  Lwow,  1864. 

19.  ii.  18. 

20.  i.  2,  21,  52. 

21.  For  the  opposite  view,  that  there  actually  was  a  deity  Radi- 
gast,  see  Leger,  Mythologie,  pp.  144-51. 

22.  Adam  of  Bremen,  iii.  50;  Helmold,  i.  23. 

23.  i.  52. 

24.  Cited  by  A.  Bruckner,  in  ASP  vi.  220-22  (1882). 

25.  Priapus  was  a  Grseco-Roman  deity  of  fertility  who  was  repre- 
sented in  obscene  form  and  worshipped  licentiously;  for  Baal-peor 
cf.  Numbers  xxv.  1-5,  Hosea  ix.  10,  as  well  as  Numbers  xxxi.  16, 
Revelation  ii.  14. 

26.  i.  83. 

27.  cxxii.  Leger,  Mythologie,  p.  22,  regards  Tiemoglav  as  an  error 
for  *Carnoglovy  ("Black-Headed"). 

28.  vi.  17. 

29.  ib.  vii.  47. 

30.  i.  52. 

Part  III 

1.  Nestor,  xxxviii  (tr.  Leger,  p.  64). 

2.  ib.  xxvii  (tr.  Leger,  p.  41). 

3.  ib.  (tr.  Leger,  p.  37)- 

4.  See  the  passages  collected  by  Krek,  Einleitung,  p.  384,  note  I. 

5.  Nestor,  xliii  (tr.  Leger,  pp.  96-97,  98). 

6.  Ed.  Petrograd,  1879,  pp.  1-2. 

7.  Cf.  Mythology  of  All  Races,  Boston,  1916,  i.  153,  159-60. 

8.  Afanasiyev,  i.  250. 


354  SLAVIC  MYTHOLOGY 

9.  Cf.  Saxo  Grammaticus,  p.  57S;  Helmold,  i.  83. 

10.  i.  83.  For  the  oak  as  sacred  to  Perun  see  Leger,  Mythologie, 
pp.  73-75;  cf.  also  the  Lithuanian  association  of  Perkunas  and  the 
oak,  infra,  p.  321.  Guagnini,  f.  83  a,  states  that  a  perpetual  fire  of 
oak  burned  before  Perun's  idol  in  Novgorod,  death  being  the  penalty 
of  any  priests  who  might  carelessly  allow  the  flame  to  be  extinguished. 

11.  In  the  Oriental  Churches  many  of  the  great  figures  of  the  Old 
Testament  rank  as  saints,  quite  unlike  the  rule  in  the  West. 

12.  See  supra,  p.  293. 

13.  For  the  blending  of  Perun  and  St.  Iliya  see  Leger,  Mythologie, 
pp.  66-73.  The  Biblical  basis  for  the  identification  is  sought  in  such 
passages  as  I  Kings  xvii.  i,  xviii.  24  if.,  xix.  11-12,  11  Kings  i.  10-12, 
ii.  II,  Luke  ix.  54,  James  v.  17-18. 

14.  Cf.  Krek,  Einleitung,  p.  391,  note  2,  Leger,  Mythologie,  p.  121. 
The  deity  is,  accordingly,  plainly  to  be  compared  with  the  Samogi- 
tian  god  "Datanus  l*Datanus,  "Inclined  to  Give";  see  T.  von 
Grienberger,  in  ASP  xviii.  19-20  (1896)]  donator  est  bonorum,  seu 
largitor,"  of  Lasicius,  ed.  Mannhardt,  p.  ii. 

15.  Nestor,  xxxviii  (tr.  Leger,  p.  64). 

16.  Cf.  supra,  pp.  286-87,  on  Svarazic  and  infra,  p.  298,  on  Svarozlc. 

17.  See  Mythology  of  All  Races,  Boston,  1916,  i.  241-43. 

18.  Chronicle  of  Hypatius,  ed.  V.  Jagic,  in  ASP  v.  i  (1881). 

19.  Tr.  Boltz,  pp.  17,  20. 

20.  Cf.  Krek,  Einleitung,  p.  393;  Leger,  Mythologie,  pp.  5-6,  121, 
note  2,  is  very  sceptical  as  to  the  mythological  value  of  this  epic. 

21.  Cf.  V.  Jagic,  in  ASP  v.  11-12  (1881). 

22.  See  Krek,  Einleitung,  p.  395,  note  i. 

23.  Cf.  the  Elbe  god  Svarazic,  supra,  pp.  277,  286-87,  and  the 
similar  statement  regarding  Dazbog  {supra,  pp.  277,  297). 

24.  Cf.  V.  Jagic,  in  ASP  iv.  412-27  (1880). 

25.  See  Mythology  of  All  Races,  Boston,  1916,  i.  205-08. 

26.  See  supra,  pp.  277,  286-87. 

27.  If,  as  V.  Jagic  has  suggested  (ASP  iv.  426  [1880]),  the  author 
of  the  Chronicle  connected  the  name  Svarog  with  Russian  svariti, 
svarivati  ("to  weld,  braze,  forge"),  the  deity  may  be  identical  with 
the  celestial  smith  of  Baltic  folk-songs  (see  infra,  p.  330).  For  older 
explanations  of  the  name  see  Krek,  Einleitung,  pp.  378-82. 

28.  Nestor,  xxxviii  (tr.  Leger,  p.  64). 

29.  Leger,  Mythologie,  p.  117. 

30.  See  Mythology  of  All  Races,  Boston,  1916,  i.  175-82. 

31.  Tr.  Boltz,  pp.  34-35- 

32.  In  similar  fashion  an  idol  (in  this  instance  carved  of  stone) 
worshipped  at  the  mouth  of  the  Obi  was  called  Zolota  Baba  ("Golden 
Gammer  ")  by  the  Russians  (Guagnini,  IT.  85  ^-86  a). 


NOTES  355 

33.  Nestor,  xxi,  xxxvi  (tr.  Leger,  pp.  24,  59). 

34.  Cf.  the  passages  collected  by  Krek,  Einleitung,  p.  384,  note  I. 

35.  Zitiye  hlazenago  Volodimera,  ed.  Makarii,  Istoriya  russkoi 
cerkvi,  i.,  3rd  ed.,  257-61,  Petrograd,  1889. 

36.  Povy^est  0  vodvorenii  Christianstva  v  Rostove,  ed.  G.  Kushelef- 
Bezborodko,  Pamyatniki  starinnoi  russkoi  literatury,  i.  221-22, 
Petrograd,  i860. 

37.  Tr.  Boltz,  p.  8. 

38.  Cf.  the  passages  quoted  by  Krek,  Einleitung,  p.  454,  and  Leger, 
Mythologie,  p.  114. 

39.  Cf.  J.  Bolland,  in  Acta  Sanctorum,  Feb.  I,  pp.  357-58;  J.  Mar- 
tinov,  Annus  ecclesiasticus  Grceco-Slavicus,  Brussels,  1863,  p.  61; 
Leger,  Mythologie,  pp.  1 12-16;  Krek,  Einleitung,  pp.  468-69,  where 
the  theory  maintained  by  the  present  writer  is  disputed. 

40.  Cf.  Leger,  Mythologie,  p.  116. 

41.  Nestor,  xxxviii  (tr.  Leger,  p.  64). 

42.  Tr.  Boltz,  p.  13. 

43.  i.  II. 

44.  See  A.  Briickner,  in  ASP  xiv.  170  if.  (1892).  Dtugosz,  followed 
by  Guagnini,  f.  9  b,  identifies  Yesza  with  Jupiter,  Lyada  with  Mars, 
Dzydzilelya  with  Venus,  Nyja  with  Pluto,  Dzewana  with  Diana, 
and  Marzyana  with  Ceres;  he  also  knows  of  an  air-god,  Podoga,  and 
a  deity  of  life,  Zywie. 

Part  IV 

1.  Helmold,  i.  23,  52,  83,  ii.  12;  Adam  of  Bremen,  iii.  50;  Saxo 
Grammaticus,  pp.  565  if.;  Procopius,  De  bello  Gothico,  iii.  14;  Cosmas, 
i.  4,  iii.  i;  Nestor,  xxxviii,  xxxix,  xliii  (tr.  Leger,  pp.  64,  67-68,  98). 

2.  Helmold,  i.  6,  52,  69,  ii.  12. 

3.  Thietmar,  vi.  17;  Helmold,  i.  83,  ii.  12;  Adam  of  Bremen,  ii. 
18;  Herbord,  ii.  31;  Ebbo,  ii.  13,  iii.  i;  al-Mas'udI,  Les  Prairies 
(Tor,  iv.  58-60;  Saxo  Grammaticus,  p.  577;  Knytlingasaga,  cxxii; 
Zitiye  hlazenago  Volodimera,  ed.  Makarii,  Istoriya  russkoi  cerkvi,  i., 
3rd  ed.,  259,  Petrograd,  1889;  Povyest  0  vodvorenii  Christianstva  v 
Rostov^,  ed.  G.  Kushelef-Bezborodko,  Pamyatniki  starinnoi  russkoi 
literatury,  i.  221-22,  Petrograd,  i860;  Leger,  Mythologie,  pp.  34, 
98-104. 

4.  Thietmar,  vi.  17-18;  Helmold,  i.  52,  83,  ii.  12;  Adam  of  Bre- 
men, ii.  18;  Herbord,  ii.  32,  iii.  6;  Saxo  Grammaticus,  pp.  564  ff.; 
al-Mas'iJdi,  Les  Prairies  d'or,  iv.  58-60. 

5.  Helmold,  i.  83;  Herbord,  ii.  31;  Constantinus  Porphyrogenitus, 
De  administrando  imperio,  ix;  Cosmas,  i.  4,  iii.  i;  Homiliar,  pp.  4,  79. 

6.  Thietmar,  vi.  26. 


356  SLAVIC  MYTHOLOGY 

7.  Helmold,  i.  83. 

8.  Cosmas,  iii.  i. 

9.  Nestor,  xxvi,  xxxviii,  xxxix,  xliii  (tr.  Leger,  pp.  41,  64,  66, 
96-97);  cf.  also  the  Russian  saying,  zili  v  I'ese,  molilis  pnyam  ("they 
lived  in  the  forest  and  prayed  to  stumps").  The  Lithuanians  are 
frequently  charged  with  worshipping  stocks  of  trees  as  well  as  idols 
(see  the  material  collected  by  Buga,  i.  3-9). 

10.  Cosmas,  i.  4;  Homiliar,  p.  4. 

11.  Thietmar,  i.  3;  Procopius,  De  hello  Gothico,  iii.  14;  Homiliar, 

PP-  4,  57,  79- 

12.  See  supra,  pp.  235-36,  281-82. 

13.  Saxo  Grammaticus,  pp.  565  ff. 

14.  Ebbo,  iii.  3.  The  Baltic  peoples  likewise  celebrated  a  feast 
in  honour  of  "Pergrubrius  "  (probably  *devas  pergubrios,  "god  of 
return  or  renewal";  cf.  T.  von  Grienberger,"  in  ASP  xviii.  72-75 
[1896])  about  St.  George's  Day  (April  23)  (Menecius,  in  SRL  ii.  389- 
90).   Herbord,  iii.  6,  and  Ebbo,  iii.  8,  regard  Gerovit  as  a  war-god. 

15.  Ebbo,  iii.  i. 

16.  Cosmas,  iii.  i. 

17.  The  regular  Lithuanian  word  for  "Christmas  "  is  kaledos. 

18.  Cf.  supra,  p.  282. 

19.  See  supra,  pp.  254-55. 

20.  See  A.  Bruckner,  in  ASP  xiv.  175-78  (1892),  and  cf.  Guag- 
nini,  f.  10  a. 

21.  Cf.  Krek,  Einleitung,  pp.  432-33;  Leger,  Mythologie,  pp.  42, 
205-06. 

22.  See  supra,  pp.  311-12. 

23.  Cf.  Krek,  Einleitung,  pp.  403,  415;  Leger,  Mythologie,  p.  158, 


Part   V 

1.  Germania,  xlv. 

2.  De  origine  actibusque  Getarum,  v. 

3.  IIL  V.  21-22. 

4.  For  the  Sarmatians  see  E.  H.  Minns,  Scythians  and  Greeks, 
Cambridge,  1913,  passifn.  They  are  doubtless  the  Sairima  of  the 
Avesta  (Yasht,  xiii.  143-44;  cf.  C.  Bartholomac,  Altiranisches  fVorter- 
buch,  Strassburg,  1904,  col.  1566),  where  they  are  mentioned  together 
with  the  Aryans,  Turanians  (i.  e.  nomadic  Iranians),  Saini  (Chinese[?]; 
cf.  J.  J.  Modi,  Asiatic  Papers,  Bombay,  1905,  pp.  241-54),  Dahi 
(the  Adai,  or  Dahae,  of  the  Classics,  dwelling  along  the  south-east 
shore  of  the  Caspian),  and  "all  lands."  For  the  Yatvyags  see  A. 
Sjogren,  "Ueber  die  Wohnsitze  und  die  Verhaltnisse  der  Jatwagen," 


NOTES  357 

in  Memoires  de  Vacademie  imperiale  des  sciences  de  St.-Petersbourg, 
Sciences  politiques,  VI.  ix.  161-356  (1859). 

5.  It  is  well  known  that  Lithuanian  is,  of  all  European  languages, 
the  one  most  similar  to  the  Indo-Iranian  group. 

6.  For  the  etymology  of  the  Lithuanian  word  daind,  probably 
cognate  with  Vedic  Sanskrit  dhend,  see  S.  G.  Oliphant,  in  Journal  of 
the  American  Oriental  Society,  xxxii.  393-413  (1912). 

7.  The  writer  is  collecting  the  material  on  Baltic  religion  with  a 
view  to  discussing  it,  in  its  presentational  and  comparative  aspects, 
in  a  separate  volume. 

8.  De  Lithuania,  ed.  T.  Hirsch,  in  SRP  iv.  238. 

9.  ZE  vii.  292-95  (1875). 

10.  Cf,  also  the  folk-tale  recorded  by  J.  Wentzig,  JVestslavischer 
Mdrchenschatz,  Leipzig,  1857,  pp.  20-26,  summarized  by  the  present 
writer  in  Encyclopcedia  of  Religion  and  Ethics,  iii.  138. 

11.  Lasicius,  ed.  W.  Mannhardt,  p.  11.  Mannhardt  {ZE  vii.  86 
[1875])  prefers  to  translate  Tete  "aunt"  (cf.  modern  Lithuanian 
tetd,  "aunt")  rather  than  "mother."  In  his  reproduction  of  the 
myth  T.  Hiarn  (Ehst-,  Lyf-  und  Lettldndische  Geschichte,  ed.  O.  E. 
Napiersky,  in  Monumenta  Livoniae  antiquae,  i.  33,  Riga,  1835)  calls 
her  the  wife  of  Perkunas.  In  a  Lettish  folk-song  (Ullmann,  no.  152, 
Mannhardt,  no.  6)  the  Virgin  Mary  is  substituted  for  Perkune  Tete. 
Mannhardt,  pp.  289,  317,  identifies  her  with  the  planet  Venus,  or 
with  the  morning  and  the  evening  star. 

12.  For  convenient  summaries  of  Lithuanian  and  Lettish  litera- 
ture see  the  relevant  sections  by  A.  Bezzenberger  and  E.  Wolter  in 
Kultur  der  Gegenzvart,  I.  ix.  354-78,  Leipzig,  1908.  The  last  person 
speaking  Prussian  died  in  1677.  For  the  scanty  remnants  of  the 
Prussian  language  see  R.  Trautmann,  Die  altpreussischen  Sprach- 
denkmdler,  Gottingen,  1 9 10. 

13.  The  chief  collections  of  value  in  the  present  connexion  are 
L.  J.  Rhesa,  Dainos  oder  litauische  Volkslieder  gesammelt,  iibersetzt, 
etc.  (Konigsberg,  1825;  2nd  ed.  by  F.  Kurschat,  Berlin,  1843);  G.  H. 
F.  Nesselmann,  Litauische  Volkslieder  gesammelt,  kritisch  hearbeitet 
und  metrisch  iibersetzt  (Berlin,  1853);  A.  Schleicher,  Litauisches  Lese- 
buch  (Prague,  1857;  translated  in  his  Litauische  Mdrchen,  Sprich- 
worte,  Rdtsel  und  Lieder,  Weimar,  1857);  A.  Juskevic,  Lietuviskos 
Dainos  (3  vols.,  Kazan,  1880-82);  V.  Kalvaitis,  Prusijos  Lietuviu 
Dainos  (Tilsit,  1905);  K.  Ullmann,  Lettische  Volkslieder  (Riga,  1874); 
K.  Baron  and  H.  Wissendorff,  Latwju  Dainas  (7  vols.,  Mitau,  1894- 
1910). 

14.  "Die  lettischen  Sonnenmythen,"  in  ZE  vii.  73-104,  209-44, 
261-330.  References  in  these  Notes  simply  to  "Mannhardt"  refer 
to  this  study. 


358  SLAVIC  MYTHOLOGY 

15.  Mannhardt,  p.  87. 

16.  Stender,  pp.  233,  262,  266, 

17.  Nesselmann,  no.  2;  Rhesa,  no.  27;  Schleicher,  no.  i;  Mann- 
hardt, no.  76  (cf.  also  Mannhardt,  no.  73). 

18.  Cf.  such  Lithuanian  words  as  perkunyja,  "thunder-storm," 
perkunuti,  "to  thunder,"  perkuno  musimas,  "thunderclap"  ("Per- 
kunas's  stroke  "),  and  Lettish  terms  like  pehrkona  lohde,  "thunder- 
bolt "  ("Pehrkon's  ball"),  pehrkona  spehreens,  "thunderclap." 
The  ordinary  Prussian  word  for  "thunder  "  is  given  as  percunis  (for 
the  etymology  see  R.  Trautmann,  Die  altpreussischen  Sprachdenk- 
mdler,  Gottingen,  1910,  pp.  395-96). 

19.  Mannhardt,  p.  317,  suggests  that  "in  the  very  primal  spring" 
may  refer  to  the  first  springtime  of  the  world. 

20.  Mannhardt,  p.  298. 

21.  Andrejanoff,  pp.  63-64. 

22.  Only  the  earliest  stars  are  really  the  offspring  of  this  union; 
the  later  stars  are  born  from  the  wedlock  of  the  elder  ones  (Stender, 
p.  270). 

23.  Nesselmann,  no.  4;  Rhesa,  no.  62;  Schleicher,  no.  4;  Mann- 
hardt, no.  78.  Cf.  also  Mannhardt,  nos.  72-75,  79,  and  for  the  Let- 
tish version  see  Ullmann,  pp.  145,  186,  195-96. 

24.  For  the  oak  as  sacred  to  Perkunas  see  the  Jesuit  report  of 
1 61 8  (Rostowski,  p.  251);  and  for  the  sanctity  of  the  tree  see  the  re- 
ports of  1583  (ib.  p.  in),  1606  (ed.  K.  Lohmeyer,  in  MlilG  iii.  390, 
394  [1893]),  and  161 8  (ed.  in  Mittheilungen  aus  dem  Gebiete  der  Ge- 
schichte  Liv-,  Ehst-  und  Kurland's,  iv.  494-501  [1874]);  cf.  also  an 
official  report  of  1657,  ed.  in  NPPBl  III.  x.  159  (1865). 

25.  Mannhardt,  pp.  222-25. 

26.  Mannhardt,  no.  72.  For  nine  as  a  sacred  number  in  Indo- 
European  see  A.  Kaegi,  "Die  Neunzahl  bei  den  Ostariem,"  in 
Philologische  Abhandlungen  Heinrich  Schzveizer-Sidler  .  .  .  gewidmet, 
Zurich,  1 891,  pp.  50-70. 

27.  Von  Schroeder,  i.  532. 

28.  Mannhardt,  p.  318. 

29.  ib.  p.  232. 

30.  See  Mythology  of  All  Races,  Boston,  1917,  vi.  32-35,  and  E, 
W.  Hopkins,  "  Indra  as  the  God  of  Fertility,"  in  Journal  of  the  Ameri- 
can Oriental  Society,  xxxvi.  242-68  (1917). 

31.  J.  Bassanovic  and  A.  Kurschat,  in  MlilG  ii.  342  (1887);  Myth- 
ology of  All  Races,  Boston,  1917,  vi.  33,  35,  264-66,  323,  350. 

32.  Mannhardt,  p.  308. 

33.  Mythology  of  All  Races,  Boston,  1916,  i.  157. 

34.  Mannhardt,  pp.  91,  306-09,  316-19,  nos.  13-15,  39-40,  44. 

35.  ib.  nos.  22,  24,  42,  26,  28,  32,  and  pp.  97,  100,  103. 


NOTES  359 

36.  Mannhardt,  no.  44,  and  p.  97. 

37.  UUmann,  p.  146. 

38.  ib.  p.  147;  cf.  Mannhardt,  nos.  42-43,  Kohl,  ii.  29.  In  Mann- 
hardt, no.  44,  the  moon's  grey  horses  stand  at  "God's  "  door  while 
the  sun's  daughter  is  being  wooed,  although  "folk  say  the  moon  has 
no  horses  of  his  own;  they  are  the  morning  and  the  evening  star  " 
(ib.  no.  46). 

39.  Ullmann,  p.  147;  cf.  also  Mannhardt,  no.  59. 

40.  Mannhardt,  nos.  11,  12,  16,  and  p.  287. 

41.  ib.  no.  32. 

42.  ib.  nos.  28-31,  and  pp.  103-04. 

43.  ib.  nos.  71  ^-73,  75,  and  p.  298. 

44.  ib.  nos.  70,  71  a,  and  p.  287. 

45.  ib.  no.  62,  and  p.  97. 

46.  Nesselmann,  no.  i;  Rhesa,  no.  78;  Schleicher,  no.  2;  Mann- 
hardt, no.  4  (cf.  also  Mannhardt,  no.  76).  When,  however,  the  sun 
cares  for  the  orphans  behind  the  mountains,  these  would  seem  to  be 
the  stars,  regarded  as  the  children  of  Sun  and  Moon  (Mannhardt, 
nos.  3-7,  and  pp.  303-04;  cf.  supra,  p.  320). 

47.  The  attempts  of  Siecke,  pp.  21-49,  to  lunarize  these  Baltic 
sun-myths  are  unworthy  of  serious  consideration. 

48.  Mannhardt,  no.  17. 

49.  ib.  nos.  47-48. 

50.  Stender,  pp.  233,  265-66. 

51.  See  supra,  pp.  322-23. 

52.  The  sun's  daughter  is  often  called  "God's  daughter"  {D'evo 
duktel'e).  This  depends  on  the  point  of  view,  according  as  the  twi- 
lights are  associated  with  the  sun  or  with  the  sky. 

53.  Mannhardt,  p.  295. 

54.  ib.  nos.  50,  74. 

55.  ib.  pp.  306,  309-14;  Mythology  of  All  Races,  Boston,  1916-17, 
vi.  30-32,  i.  24-27,  246-47.  For  the  concept  of  twin  gods  see  J.  Ren- 
del  Harris,  The  Cult  of  the  Heavenly  Twins,  Cambridge,  1906,  and 
Boanerges,  Cambridge,  1913. 

56.  Nesselmann,  no.  7;  Rhesa,  no.  84;  Schleicher,  no.  10;  Mann- 
hardt, no.  84.  In  a  Lettish  version  (Mannhardt,  no.  83)  the  maiden 
is  told  that  her  parents  are  in  Germany  (i.  e.  the  west),  drinking  to 
the  marriage  of  the  (other?)  sun-daughter  (i.  e.  evening  twilight). 
In  reality  this  daind  bears  only  a  superficial  likeness  to  the  "Jack 
and  the  Beanstalk  "  cycle,  for  which  see  the  admirable  discussion  by 
J,  A.  MacCulloch,  Childhood  of  Fiction,  London,  1905,  ch.  xvi. 

57.  Mannhardt,  p.  230. 

58.  ib.  nos.  58,  80,  and  pp.  97,  234. 

59.  See  supra,  pp.  321,  323,  325. 
1 1 1 — 24 


360  SLAVIC  MYTHOLOGY 

60.  Mannhardt,  no.  56,  and  p.  308. 

61.  ib.  nos.  52-54,  56,  29. 

62.  ib.  nos.  42,  63.  Occasionally  "God's  sons  "  are  themselves  the 
moon's  horses  (ib.  no.  46). 

63.  ib.  nos.  50,  67,  15. 

64.  ib.  nos.  70,  36,  59,  60,  80,  and  pp.  299-300. 

65.  Nesselmann,  no.  5;  Rhesa,  no.  48;  Schleicher,  no.  12;  Mann- 
hardt, no.  80. 

66.  See  supra,  p.  324. 

67.  Mannhardt,  nos.  51  (cf.  also  nos.  16,  72,  75,  78,  79,  and  p. 
219),  57,  81-82,  65-66,  68-69,  and  pp.  299,  302. 

68.  See  infra,  p.  329. 

69.  Mannhardt,  no.  64,  and  p.  302, 

70.  ib.  nos.  34-35,  39-40,  and  p.  loi. 

71.  ib.  nos.  33-34,  and  p.  308. 

72.  ib.  nos.  35,  15. 

73.  ib.  no.  55. 

74.  ib.  no.  57,  and  p.  102. 

75.  See  supra,  p.  323,  and  Mannhardt,  nos.  79,  82,  and  pp.  302- 
03  (cf.  ib.  no.  74,  where  an  orphan  maid,  with  none  to  give  her  in 
marriage,  calls  the  sun  her  mother,  the  moon  her  father,  the  star  her 
sister,  and  the  Pleiades  [literally  "sieve-star,"  s'etas]  her  brother;  cf. 
also  ib.  no.  81). 

76.  See  supra,  p.  323  and  Note  II. 

77.  See  supra,  p.  323. 

78.  Cf.  supra,  pp.  321,  327. 

79.  Cf.  Mythology  of  All  Races,  Boston,  1917,  vi.  i,  25,  36-37,  43, 
48,  263,  267.  A  similar  idea  occurs  elsewhere,  as  in  Egyptian  myth- 
ology; cf.  ib.  xii.  25,  34,  113,  194. 

80.  Mannhardt,  pp.  98-99.  He  also  compares  the  Lettish  riddles 
"A  brother  and  a  sister  go  daily  through  the  sea  "  (sun  and  moon) 
and  "A  casket  at  the  bottom  of  a  spring  "  (the  moon). 

81.  ib.  p.  324,  and  no.  86.  In  similar  fashion  a  child  implores  the 
setting  sun  to  give  his  mother  a  hundred  greetings  (ib.  no.  90). 

82.  ib.  no.  84;  Stender,  pp.  233,  269. 

83.  Mannhardt,  no.  89,  and  p.  324. 

84.  ib. 

85.  This  report  is  edited  by  K.  Lohmeyer,  in  MlilG  iii.  389-95 
(1893);  for  the  text  and  translation  of  the  ddinos  see  Wissendorff  de 
Wissukuok,  in  RTP  vii.  265  ff.  (1892). 

86.  Mannhardt,  nos.  36-38. 

87.  ib.  pp.  319-24. 

88.  See  Mythology  of  All  Races,  Boston,  191 7,  vi.  50,  93.  In  this 
connexion  we  may  recall  the  conclusions  reached  by  Mannhardt 


NOTES  361 

(p.  329):  "On  the  whole  the  Lettish  [i.e.  Baltic]  sun-myth  agrees  so 
exactly  with  the  ancient  Aryan  [i.e.  Indian]  in  the  Veda  and  with  the 
ancient  Greek  that  one  would  scarcely  meet  with  contradiction  if  he 
ventured  to  suggest  that  here  he  had  before  him  a  fairly  accurately 
preserved  copy  of  pro-ethnic,  Indo-European  solar  mythology." 

89.  See  supra,  p.  298,  and  Part  III,  Note  27. 

90.  The  meaning  of  the  name  is  unknown.  For  the  passage  see 
E.  Wolter,  in  ASP  ix.  635-42  (1886)  and  Litovskii  katichizis  N. 
Dauksi,  Petrograd,  1886,  pp.  176-77.  The  name  is  also  found  in  the 
form  Telyavel  in  the  Galicio-Volhynian  Chronicle  referring  to  Men- 
dowg's  baptism  in  1252,  this  portion  of  the  text  being  written  before 
1292  (ed.  A.  Bruckner,  in  ASP  ix.  3  [1886]).  The  divine  smith  also 
recurs  in  the  Irish  Goibniu  {supra,  p.  31;  cf.  the  divine  cerd,  or 
brazier,  Creidne,  ib.  pp.  28,  31-32).  The  Ossetes  of  the  Caucasus 
likewise  have  a  celestial  smith,  Kurdalagon  (H.  Hiibschmann,  in 
Zeitschrift  der  deutschen  morgenldndischen  Gesellschajt,  xli.  535  [1887]; 
for  myths  concerning  him  see  ib.  pp.  541-42,  545,  547)  or  Safa 
(E.  Delmar  Morgan,  in  Journal  of  the  Royal  Asiatic  Society,  xx. 
383  [1888]). 


BIBLIOGRAPHY 


CELTIC 


I.    ABBREVIATIONS 

AR      ....  Archaeological  Review. 

BB      ....  Book  of  Ballymote.     (See  Section  V  {a).) 

CIL    .....  Corpus  inscriptionum  Latinarum. 

CIR     ....  Corpus  inscriptionum  Rhenanarum. 

CM Celtic  Magazine. 

CR Celtic  Review. 

EETS     .    .    .  Early  English  Text  Society. 

ERE  ....  Encyclopaedia  of  Religion  and  Ethics. 

FL Folk-Lore. 

FLJ    ....  Folk-Lore  Journal. 

FLR   ....  Folk-Lore  Records. 

IT Irische  Texte.     (See  Section  V  {h).) 

ITS    ....  Irish  Text  Society.     (See  Section  V  (b).) 

JAI    ....  Journal  of  the  [Royal]  Anthropological  Society. 

JRHAAI  .  .  Journal  of  the  Royal  Historical  and  Archaeological 
Association  of  Ireland. 

KAJ  ....  Kilkenny  Archaeological  Journal. 

LL Leabhar  Laignech  ("Book  of  Leinster").  (See  Sec- 
tion V  {a).) 

LU Leabhar  na  hUidhri.     (See  Section  V  (a).) 

OfVT  ....  Old  Welsh  Texts.     (See  Section  VI.) 

RA Revue  archeologique. 

RCel   ....  Revue  celtique. 

RHR  ....  Revue  de  I'histoire  des  religions. 

RIA:  IMS  Royal  Irish  Academy:  Irish  Manuscripts  Series. 

RIA:  TLS  .  Royal  Irish  Academy:  Todd  Lecture  Series.  (See 
Section  V  {b).) 

SCR    ....  Scottish  Celtic  Review. 

SdATF  .    .    .  Societe  des  anciens  textes  fran^ais. 

STS    ....  Scottish  Text  Society. 

TCHR  .  .  .  Transactions  of  the  International  Congress  of  the 
History  of  Religions. 

TGSInv  .    .    .  Transactions  of  the  Gaelic  Society  of  Inverness. 

TOS  ....  Transactions  of  the  Ossianic  Society.  (See  Section 
V  {b).) 


366  CELTIC  MYTHOLOGY 


YBL 
YCym 
ZC'P   . 
ZDA  . 
ZVS 


Yellow  Book  of  Lecan.     (See  Section  V  (a).) 
Y  Cymmrodor. 

Zeitschrift  fiir  celtische  Philologie. 
Zeitschrift  fiir  deutsches  Altertum. 
Zeitschrift  fiir  vergleichende  Sprachforschung. 

IL     COLLECTIONS 


D'Arbois  de  Jubainville,  H.,  (and  Loth,  J.),  Cours  de  litteraturr 
celtique.     12  vols.     Paris,  1 883-1 902. 
i.  Introduction  a  r etude  de  la  litter ature  celtique.     1883. 
ii.  Le   Cycle   mythologique   irlandais    et    la    mythologie    celtique, 
1884.     (English  translation  by  R.  I.  Best.     Dublin,  1903.) 
iii-iv.  Le  Mabinogion.    Tr.  J.  Loth.     1889.     (See  Section  VI.) 
V.  U Epopee  celtique  en  Irlande.     1892. 

vi.  La  Civilisation  des  Celtes  et  celle  de  V epopee  homerique.     1899. 
vii-viii.  Etudes  sur  le  droit  celtique.     1895. 

ix-xi.  La  Metrique  galloise.     By  J.  Loth.     1900-02. 

xii.  Principaux  auteurs  de  Vantiquite  a  consulter  sur  Vhistoire  des 
Celtes.     1902. 

Daremberg,  v.,  and  Saglio,  E.,  Dictionnaire  des  antiquites  grecques 
et  romaines.     Paris,  1877  ff. 

DiNAN,  W.,  Monumenta  historica  Celtica,  i.     London,  191 1. 

Holder,  A.,  Altceltischer  Sprachschatz.     Leipzig,  18961!. 

Pauly,  a.  F.  von,  Realencyclopddie  der  classischen  Altertumswissen- 
schaft.     New  ed.  by  G.  Wissowa.     Stuttgart,  1904  ff. 

III.     CLASSICAL  AND   EARLY   CHRISTIAN 
AUTHORITIES 

Some  of  these  contain  merely  brief  references  to  Celtic  religion  or 
custom.     The  more  important  are  marked.* 

Aelian,  De  natura  animalium. 
Ammianus  Marcellinus. 
Apollonius,  Argonautica. 
Appian,  Romanorum  historiarum  fragmenta. 
Aristotle,  Ethica  Nichomachea. 
Athenaeus,  Deipnosophistai. 
Augustine,  De  civitate  Dei. 
AusoNius,  Professores. 

AviENUS. 


BIBLIOGRAPHY  367 

*Caesar,  De  hello  Gallico. 

Cicero,  De  divinatione. 

Claudian,  Carmina. 

Clement  of  Alexandria,  Stromata. 

Dio  Chrysostom,  Orationes. 
*DiODORUS  SicuLUS,  BibHothectt  historica. 

Diogenes  Laertius,  De  vitis  philosophorum. 

HiPPOLYTUS,  Philosophumena. 

Isidore,  Orationes. 

Justin,  Epitome  historiae  Philippicae. 

LiVY,  Historia. 
*Lucan,  Pharsalia. 

Lucia N,  Herakles. 

Pausanias,  Descriptio  Graeciae. 
*Pliny,  Historia  naturalis. 

*Plutarch,  De  dejectu  oraculorum;  De  facie  lunae. 
*PoMPONius  Mela,  De  situ  orbis. 

Procopius,  De  hello  Gothico. 

Propertius,  Carmina. 

Pseudo-Plutarch,  De  fluviis. 

SoLiNUS,  Collectanea  rerum  memorabilium. 

Stobaeus,  Eclogae  physicae  et  ethicae. 

Strabo,  Geographia. 

Suetonius,  Claudius. 

Tacitus,  Annales ;  Historiae. 

Valerius  Maximus. 

Most  of  the  Classical  passages  relating  to  the  Celts  are  collected 
by  dArbois,  Cours,  xii,  and  by  W.  Dinan.  See  also  Monumenta 
historica  Brittanica,  ed.  H.  Petrie,  i.     London,  1848. 

IV.     MEDIEVAL   REFERENCES 

Adamnan,  Vita  Sancti  Columhae. 

Aelred,  Fita  Sancti  Niniani. 

Geoffrey  of   Monmouth,  Historia  Britonum;  Vita  Merlini;  Pro- 
phetia  Merlini. 

Gervase  of  Tilbury,  Otia  imperialia. 

Gildas,  De  excidio  Britanniae. 


368  CELTIC  MYTHOLOGY 

GiRALDUs  Cambrensis,  Opera. 

JocELYN,  Vita  Sancti  Kentigerni. 

Nennius,  Historia  Britonum.  (The  Irish  version  ed.  by  J.  H.  Todd, 
Dublin,  1848.  See  also  Section  V  {b),  RIA:TLS  vi,  and  Sec- 
tion VIII,  ZiMMER,  [b].) 

Patrick,  Saint.     {&]  Tripartite  Life.    Ed.  W.  Stokes.    London,  1887. 

[b]  Writings.    Ed.    W.  Stokes  and  C.  H.  H.  Wright.    London, 

1887. 

V.     IRISH  TEXTS  AND  TRANSLATIONS 

{a)  Collections 

Ancient  Laws  and  Institutes  of  Ireland.    6  vols.    Dublin,  1 865-1901. 

Annals  of  the  Kingdom  of  Ireland  by  the  Four  Masters.  Ed.  and  tr. 
J.  O'Donovan.     7  vols.     Dublin,  1848-51. 

Annals  of  Tighernach.  Ed.  and  tr.  W.  Stokes,  in  RCel  xvi.  374-419, 
xvii.  6-33,  116-263,  337-420,  xviii.  9-59,  150-303,  374-91 
(1895-97). 

Book  of  Ballymote.  Ed.,  with  introd.,  etc.,  by  R.  Atkinson.  Dublin, 
1887. 

Book  of  Fermoy.  The  work  as  a  whole  exists  only  in  manuscript. 
Portions  are  tr.  by  J.  H.  Todd,  Descriptive  Catalogue  of  the  Book 
of  Fermoy.     Dublin,  1873.     {RIA:IMS  \.  \.) 

Leabhar  Laignech  ("Book  of  Leinster").  Ed.,  with  introd.,  etc.,  by 
R.  Atkinson.     Dublin,  1880. 

Leabhar  na  hUidhre  ("Book  of  the  Dun  Cow").  Ed.  J.  T.  Gilbert. 
Dublin,  1870. 

Yellow  Book  of  Lecan.  Ed.,  with  Introd.,  etc.,  by  R.  Atkinson. 
Dublin,  1896. 

{b)  Single  Texts  (Irish  and  Scots  Gaelic) 

Aislinge  Meic  Conglinne  ("Vision  of  Mac  Conglinne").  Ed.  and  tr. 
K.  Meyer.     London,  1892. 

Acallamh  na  Senorach  ("Colloquy  with  the  Ancients").  Ed.  and 
tr.  S.  H.  O'Grady,  Silva  Gadelica.    2  vols.    London,  1892. 

Cath  Finntrdga  ("Battle  of  Ventry").  Ed.  and  tr.  K.  Meyer.  Ox- 
ford, 1885. 

Cormac^s  Glossary.  Ed.  and  tr.  J.  O'Donovan  and  W.  Stokes.  Cal- 
cutta, 1868. 

Courtship  of  Ferb.     Tr.  A.  H.  Leahy.     London,  1902. 


BIBLIOGRAPHY  369 

Cuchullin  Saga  in  Irish  Literature.    Tr.  E.  Hull.    London,  1898. 

Dean  of  Lismore's  Book.  A  Selection  of  Ancient  Gaelic  Poetry.  From 
a  Manuscript  Collection  made  by  Sir  James  McGregor,  Dean  of 
Lismore,  in  the  Beginning  of  the  Sixteenth  Century.  Ed.  and  tr. 
T.  McLauchlan.     Edinburgh,  1862. 

Dindsenchas.  [a]  (Bodleian).  Ed.  and  tr.  W,  Stokes,  in  FL  iii.  467- 
516  (1892). 

[b]  (Edinburgh).    Ed.  and  tr.  W.  Stokes,  in  FL  iv.  471-97 

(1893)- 

[c]  (Rennes,  supplemented  by  YBL  and  LL).    Ed.  and  tr.  W. 


Stokes,  in  RCel  xv.  272-336,  418-84,  xvi.  31-83,  135-67,  269- 
312  (1894-95).     (Cf.  also  infra,  RIA.TLS  vii-x.) 

Dragon  Myth,  The  Celtic.  By  J.  F.  Campbell.  Edinburgh,  191 1. 
(Contains  also  The  Geste  of  Fraoch  and  the  Dragon  [Tain  Bo 
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Heroic  Romances  of  Ireland.  Ed.  and  tr.  A.  H.  Leahy.  2  vols. 
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Irische  Texte.  Ed.  E.  Windisch  and  W.  Stokes.  4  vols.  Leipzig, 
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P.  Dinneen.     3  vols.  1902-08. 
iv.  Book  of  the  Lays  of  Finn.    Ed.  and  tr.  J.  MacNeill.    i.     1908. 

Leabhar   na   Feinne.      Heroic   Gaelic   Ballads    Collected   in    Scotland 

Chiefly  from  1512  to  1871.     Ed.  J.   F.  Campbell,     i.     London, 

1872. 
Mael  Duin,  Voyage  of.     Ed.  and  tr.  W.  Stokes,  in  RCel  ix.  447-95, 

x.  50-95,  265  (1888-89). 
Mag  Tured,  Battle  of.     [a]   "The  Second  Battle  of  Moytura,"  ed. 

and  tr.  W.  Stokes,  in  RCel  xii.  52-130,  306-08  (1891). 
[b]  "The  First  Battle  of  Moytura,"  ed.  and  tr.  J.  Eraser,  in 

Eriu,  viii.  1-63  (191 5). 
Royal  Irish  Academy,  Todd  Lecture  Series.     Dublin,  1889  if. 

i.  Mesca  Ulad:  or.  The  Intoxication  of  the  Ultonians.     Ed.  and 
tr.  W.  M.  Hennessy.     1899. 


370  CELTIC  MYTHOLOGY 

iv.  Cath  Ruis  na  Rig  for  Boinn.    Ed.  and  tr.  F,  Hogan.     1892. 
vi.   The  Irish  Nennius  from  Leabhar  ne  Huidre.     Ed.  and  tr.  E. 

Hogan.     1895.     (Cf.  also  Section  IV^) 
vii.  Poems  from  the  Dindshenchas .     Ed.  and  tr.  E.  Gvvynn.     1900. 
viii-x.   The  Metrical  Dindshenchas.     Ed.  and  tr.  E.  Gwynn.     3  vols. 
1903-13.     (Cf.  also  Dindsenchas.) 
xiii.    The  Triads  of  Ireland.    Ed.  and  tr.  K.  Meyer.     1906. 
xiv.   The  Death  Tales  of  the  Ulster  Heroes.    Ed.  K.  Meyer.     1906. 
xvi.  fia7iaigecht,  Being  a  Collection  of  Hitherto  Inedited  Irish  Poems 
and  Tales  Relating  to  Finn  and  his  Fiana.     Ed.  and  tr.  K. 
Meyer.     1910. 

Sagen  aus  dem  alteri  Irland.    By  R.  Thumeysen.    Berlin,  1901. 

Sick-Bed  of  Cuchulainn.    Ed.  and  tr.  E.  O'Curry,  in  Atlantis,  i.  362- 
92,  ii.  98-124  (1858-59). 

Silva  Gadelica.     A  Collection  of  Tales  in  Irish.     Ed.  and  tr.  S.  H. 

O'Grady.    2  vols.     London,  1892.     (i.  Text;  ii.  Translation  and 

Notes.) 
Tain  Bo  Cualnge.    [a]  Die  altirische  Heldensage  Tain  Bo  Cualnge  nach 

dem  Buch  von  Leinster.    Ed.  and  tr.  E.  Windisch.     Leipzig,  1905. 

[b]  Tain  Bo  Cualnge.     Enlevement   (du  taureau  divin  et)  des 

vaches  de  Cooley.  Tr.  H.  d'Arbois  de  Jubainville.  Paris,  191 1. 
(Reprinted  from  RCel  xxviii.  17-40,  145-77,  241-61,  xxix.  153- 
201,  XXX.  78-88,  156-85,  235-51,  xxxi.  5-22,  273-86,  xxxii.  30- 
42,  377-90-) 

[c]  The  Cattle  Raid  of  Cualnge  {Tain  Bo  Cuailnge).     An  Old 


Irish  Prose-Epic,  Translated  for  the  First  Time  from  Leabhar  na 
hUidhri  and  the  Yellow  Book  of  Lecan.     By  L.  Winifred  Fara- 
day.    London,  1904. 
Three  Irish  Glossaries.     Ed.  W.  Stokes.     London,  1862. 

Three  Most  Sorrowful  Tales  of  Erin.  Ed.  and  tr.  E.  O'Curry,  in 
Atlantis,  iii.  377-422,  iv.  113-240  (1862-63).  ("The  Exile  of 
the  Children  of  Uisnech,"  "The  Fate  of  the  Children  of  Lir," 
"The  Fate  of  the  Children  of  Tuireann.") 

Tochmarc  Emire  ("Wooing  of  Emer").  Tr.  K.  Meyer,  in  AR  1. 
68-75,  150-55,  231-35,  298-307  (1888). 

Togail  Bruidne  Da  Derga  ("Destruction  of  Da  Derga's  Hostel"). 
Ed.  and  tr.  W.  Stokes.  Paris,  1902.  (Reprinted  from  RCel 
xxii.  9-61,  165-215,  282-329,  390-437,  xxiii.  88.) 

Transactions  of  the  Ossianic  Society.     6  vols.     Dublin,  1853-61. 
i.   The  Battle  of  Gabhra.     Ed.  and  tr.  N.  O'Keamey.     1853. 
ii.  Festivities  at  the  House  of  Conan.     Ed.  and  tr.  N.  O'Keamey. 
1855. 


BIBLIOGRAPHY  371 

iii.   The  Pursuit  after  Diarmuid  O^Duibhne  and  Grainne.     Ed.  and 
tr.  S.  H.  O'Grady.     1857. 
iv,  vi.  Laoithe  Fiannuigheachta;  or,  Fenian  Poems.     Ed.  and  tr,  J. 
O'Daly.     2  vols.     1859-61. 
V.  Imtheacht  na  Tromdhaimhe;  or,  The  Proceedings  of  the  Great 
Bardic  Institution.     Ed.  and  tr.  O.  Connellan.     i860. 

Voyage  of  Bran.  Ed.  and  tr.  K.  Meyer,  with  essays  by  A.  Nutt. 
2  vols.     London,  1895-97. 

Youthful  Exploits  of  Fionn.  Ed.  and  tr.  D.  Comyn.  Dublin,  1881. 
Numerous  other  texts  and  translations  are  contained  in  Eriu 
and  RCel.     For  collections  of  folk-tales  see  Section  VIII. 


VI.    WELSH  TEXTS 

Aneirin,  Book  of.     [a]  Facsimile  ed.  by  J.  G.  Evans.     Pwllheli,  1908. 

{OWT) 
[b]  Gododin.    Ed.  T.  Powel,  tr.  T.  Stephens.     London,  1888. 

Bruts.     Ed.  from  the  Red  Book  of  Hergest  by  Sir  J.  Rhys  and  J.  G. 
Evans.     Oxford,  1890.      {OWT) 

Cf.  also  Mabinogion,  [e];  Myrvyrian  Archaiology ;    and    Sec- 
tion VII,  Layamon;  Wage. 

Caermarthen,   Black   Book   of.      [a]    Facsimile   ed.   by  J.   G.   Evans. 
Pwllheli,  1888.     (OWT) 

[b]  Diplomatic  text,  with  notes  and  introd.  by  J.  G.  Evans. 

Oxford,  1906.     (OWT) 

lolo  Manuscripts.    Ed.  and  tr.  T.  Williams.    Llandovery,  1848. 
Llan  Ddu,  Book  of.     Facsimile  ed.  by  J.  G.  Evans  and  Sir  J.  Rhys. 
Oxford,  1893.     {OWT) 

Mabinogion.     [a]  The  Mabinogion  from  the  Llyfr  Coch  0  Hergest  and 

Other  Ancient  Welsh  Manuscripts.     Ed.  and  tr.  Lady  Charlotte 

Guest.     3  vols.     London,  1849.     2nd  ed.,  without  Welsh  text. 

I   vol.     London,   1877.     Another  ed.,  with  notes  by  A.  Nutt. 

London,  1902. 
[h\  Les  Mabinogion.    Ed.  and  tr.  J.  Loth.    2  vols.    Paris,  1889. 

(=  d'Arbois,  Cours,  iii-iv.    See  Section  II.) 
[c]  Les  Mabinogion  du  Livre  Rouge  de  Hergest,  avec  les  variantes 

du  Livre  Blanc  de  Rhydderch.    Tr.  J.  Loth.    2  vols.    Paris,  1913. 

(This  forms  an  entirely  new  edition  of  the  previous  work.) 

[d]  The  White  Book  Mabinogion:  Welsh  Tales  and  Romances^ 

Reproduced  from  the  Peniarth  Manuscripts.     Ed.  J.  G.  Evans. 
Pwllheli,  1907.     {OWT) 


372  CELTIC  MYTHOLOGY 

Mabinogion.  [e]  The  Text  of  the  Mahinogion  and  Other  Welsh  Tales 
from  the  Red  Book  of  Hergest.  Ed.  Sir  J.  Rhys  and  J.  G.  Evans. 
Oxford,  1887.     {OJVT)     (Contains  also  the  Bruts  and  Triads.) 

Myvyrian  Archaiology  of  Wales,  Collated  out  of  Ancient  Manuscripts. 
By  O.  Jones,  E.  WilUams,  and  W.  O.  Pughe.  London,  1801. 
2nd  ed.    Denbigh,  1870.     (Contains  the  Bruts  and  Triads.) 

Skene,  W.  F.,  The  Four  Ancient  Books  of  Wales  (with  English  ver- 
sions by  D.  S.  Evans  and  R.  Williams).  2  vols.  Edinburgh, 
1868. 

Taliesin.  [a]  Llyvr  Taliesin:  Poems  from  the  Book  of  Taliesin.  Fac- 
simile, with  text,  introd.,  notes,  and  translation,  by  J.  G.  Evans. 
Tremvan,  Llandeborg,  North  Wales,  1914.     iOWT) 

[b]  Taliesin,  or  Bards  and  Druids.  A  Translation  of  the  Re- 
mains of  the  Earliest  Welsh  Bards,  and  an  Examination  of  the 
Bardic  Mysteries.    By  D.  W.  Nash.    London,  1858. 

[c]  Text  and  tr.  in  Skene,  Four  Ancient  Books  of  Wales. 


VIL    TEXTS   OF  THE  ARTHURIAN   CYCLE 

Albrecht  von  Scharffenberg,  Der  jiingere  Titurel.  Ed.  K.  A. 
Hahn.     Quedlinburg  and  Leipzig,  1842. 

Arthur,  [a]  The  Vulgate  Version  of  the  Arthurian  Romances.  Ed. 
from  manuscripts  in  the  British  Museum  by  H.  O.  Sommer. 
3  vols.  Washington,  1 908-1 1,  (i.  Lestoire  del  Saint  Graal; 
ii.  Lestoire  de  Merlin;  iii.  Le  Litre  de  Lancelot  del  Lac.) 

[b]  Arthur  and  Gorlagon.    Ed.  G.  L.  Kittredge,  in  Studies  and 

Notes  in  Philology  and  Literature,  viii.  150-275  (1903).    Also  ed. 
F.  A.  Milne,  with  notes  by  A.  Nutt,  in  FL  xv.  40-67  (1904). 

[c]  Arthour  und  Merlin.  Ed.  from  the  Auchinlech  Manu- 
script by  E.  Kolbing.     Leipzig,  1890. 

[d]  Le  Morte  d' Arthur.     By  Sir  T.  Malory.     Original  ed.  of 

Caxton  reprint,  with  introd.  by  H.  O.  Sommer.    3  vols.     Lon- 
don, 1889-91. 

[e]  Le  Morte  Arthur.     Ed.  from  Harleian  Manuscript  2252  in 


the  British  Museum  by  F.  J.  Furnivall.     London,  1864.     New 
ed.  by  J.  D.  Bruce.    London,  1903.    [LETS]. 
See  also  Lancelot;  Ulrich  von  Zatzighoven. 

Bruts.    See  Section  VI;  also  Layamon;  Wage. 

Chretien  de  Troyes.    [a]  Sdmtliche  erhaltene  Werke.    Ed.  W.  Forster. 

4  vols.    Halle,  1884-99.    (^-  Cliges;  ii.  Yvain;  iii.  Eric  und  Enide; 

iv.  Der   Karrenritter  {Chevalier  de  la  Charette),  Das  Wilhelms- 

lehen.) 


BIBLIOGRAPHY  373 

Chretien  de  Troyes.    [b]  Le  Conte  del  Graal.     In  C.  Potvin,  Per- 
ceval le  Gallois,  oti  le  Conte  del  Graal.     6  vols.     Mons,  1866-71. 
(Contains  also  Gautier  [Wauchier],  Gerbert,  and  Manessier.) 
See  also  Section  VIII,  Weston,  [f]. 

Dream  of  Rhonabzvy.     See  Section  VI,  Mabinogion. 

EiLHART  VON  Oberge,   Tristan.     Ed,  F.  Lichtenstein.     Strassburg, 

1877. 
Gautier  de  Doulens  [or  Wauchier  de  Denain].     See  Chretien 

DE  Troyes,  [b],  and  Section  VIII,  Weston,  [f]. 

Gawain.     [a]  Syr  Gawayne,  a  Collection  of  Ancient  Romance  Poems. 
Ed.  Sir  F.  Madden.    London,  1839. 

[b]  Syr   Gawayne    and   the   Grene   Knight.      Ed.    R.    Morris. 

London,  1864.     (EETS) 
[c]  Syr  Gawayne   and  the  Grene  Knight,   Retold  in  Modern 

Prose.    By  J.  L.  Weston.     London,  1898. 

[d]  Sir  Gawain  at  the  Grail  Castle.    Tr.  J.  L.  Weston.     London, 


1903. 

See  also  Grail. 

Geoffrey  of  Monmouth.     See  Section  IV. 

Geraint  ap  Erbyn.    See  Section  VI,  Mabinogion. 

Gerbert.     See  Chretien  de  Troyes,  [b]. 

Gottfried  von  Strassburg.  [a]  Tristan.  Ed.  R.  Bechstein.  Leip- 
zig, 1877. 

[b]  Tristan  and  Iseult  (prose  tr.  of  the  foregoing).    Tr.  J.  L. 

Weston.     2  vols.     London,  1899. 

Grail,    [a]  La  Queste  del  Saint  Grael.    Ed.  F.  J.  Fumivall.    London, 

1864. 
[b]    Y  Saint  Greal.     Ed.    and    tr.    R.    Williams.      London, 

1876. 

[c]  Le  Saint-Graal,  ou  le  Joseph  d'Arimathee.    Ed.  E.  Hucher, 


3  vols.     Le  Mans,  1875-78. 

See  also  Arthur,  [a];  Chretien  de  Troyes;  Gawain,  [d];  Per- 
ceval; Robert  de  Borron. 
Guingamor  and  Other  Lays.    Tr.  J.  L.  Weston.    London,  1910. 

Hartmann  von  Aue,  ed.  F.  Bech.  3  vols.  Leipzig,  1870-73. 
(i.  Erec;  ii.  Lieder,  Der  arme  Heinrich;  iii.  Iwein.) 

Heinrich  von  DEM  TuRLiN,  Diu  Krone.  Ed.  J.  H.  F.  Scholl.  Stutt- 
gart, 1852. 

Kulhwch  and  Olwen.    See  Section  VI,  Mabinogion. 
Lady  of  the  Fountain.    See  Section  VI,  Mabinogion. 


374  CELTIC  MYTHOLOGY 

Lancelot^  Roman  van.    Ed.  W.  J.  A.  Jonckbloet.    2  vols.    The  Hague, 
1846-49. 

See  also  Arthur,  [a],  iii;  Ulrich  von  Zatzighoven. 

Layamon,   Brut.     Ed.   and   tr.   Sir  F.   Madden.     3    vols.     London, 

1847. 
Manessier.    See  Chretien  de  Troyes,  [b]. 
Marie  de  France,    [a]  Lais.    Ed.  K.  Warnke.    Halle,  1886. 

[b]  Poesies.    Tr.  B.  de  Roquefort.    2  vols.    Paris,  1820. 

[c]  Seven  of  her  Lays.    Tr.  E.  Sickert.     London,  1901. 

Merlin,    [a]  Le  Roman  de  Merlin.    Ed.  H.  O.  Sommer.     London,  1894. 
[b]  Merlin,  reman  en  prose  du  xiii"  siecle  d^apres  le  manuscrit 

apparteyiant  a  A.  H.  Huth.    Ed.  G.  Paris  and  J.  Ulrich.    Paris, 

1886. 

[c]  Merlin,  or  the  Early  History  of  King  Arthur  (Middle  Eng- 


lish tr.  of  Le  Roman  de  Merlin).    Ed.  H.  B.  Wheatley.     4  vols. 
London,  1899.     (EETS) 
See  also  Arthur. 

Myvyrian  Archaiology.     See  Section  VL 
Nennius.     See  Sections  IV;  V  {b),  RIA.TLS  vi. 
Paris,  A.  P.,  Les  Romans  de  la  table  ronde,  mis  en  nouveau  langage. 
5  vols.     Paris,  1868-77. 

Paris,  G.,  Romans  en  vers  de  la  table  ronde.     Paris,  1888.     {Histoire 
litter  aire  de  la  France,  xxx.) 

Perceval,     [a]  Perceval  (prose  romance).    See  Grail,  [c],  iii. 

[b]  Perceval   li    Gallois    (Perlesvaus)   (prose    romance).      See 

Chretien  de  Troyes,  [b],  i. 

[c]   The  High  History  of  the  Holy  Grail  (tr.  of  foregoing).     Tr. 


S.  Evans.     2  vols.     London,  1898. 

See    also    Chretien    de    Troyes,  [b];    Thornton    Romances; 
Wolfram  von  Eschenbach;  and  Section  VIII,  Weston,  [f]. 

Peredur.     See  Section  VI,  Mabinogion. 

Robert  (or  Robiers)  de  Borron,  [a]  Seynt  Graal,  or  the  Sank  Royal, 
partly  in  English  verse  by  H.  Lonelich,  and  Wholly  in  French  Prose 
by  Robiers  de  Borron.  Ed.  F.  J.  Furnivall.  2  vols.  London, 
1861-63. 

[b]  The  History  of  the  Holy  Grail,  English  about  iJ^^o  by  H. 

Lonelich  from  the  French  Prose  of  Sires  Robiers  de  Borron.  Re- 
ed, by  F.  J.  Furnivall.  5  parts.  London,  1874-1905.  [EETS] 
See  also  Grail ;  Merlin. 

Sir  Cliges.     Tr.  J.  L.  Weston.     London,  1902. 

Sir  Morien.     Tr.  J.  L.  Weston.     London,  1907. 


BIBLIOGRAPHY  375 

Thornton  Romances,  the  Early  English  Metrical  Romances  of  Perceval, 
Isumbras,  E glamour,  and  Degrevant.  Ed.  J.  O.  Halliwel!.  Lon- 
don, 1844. 

Trisirem,  Tristan,  [a]  Le  Roman  de  Tristan,  par  Beroul,  poeme  du  xii" 
siecle.    Ed.  E.  Muret.    Paris,  1903.    [SdATF] 

[b]  Le  Roman  de  Tristan,  par  Thomas,  poeme  du  xii^  siecle. 

Ed.  J.  Bedier.    2  vols.    Paris,  1902-05.    [SdJTF] 

[c]  Sir  Tristrem  (attributed  to  Thomas  the  Rhymer).     Ed. 

G.  P.  MacNeiU.     London,  1886.     [STS] 

[d]  Le  Roman  en  prose  de  Tristan,  etc.,  analyse  critique  d'apres 


les  manuscrits  de  Paris.     By  E.  Loseth.     Paris,  1890. 

See  also  Eilhart  von  Oberge;  Gottfried  von  Strassburg. 
Ulrich  von  Zatzighoven,  Lanzelet.    Ed.  K.  A.  Hahn.     Frankfort, 
1845. 

See  also  Arthur,  [a],  iii;  Lancelot. 
Wace,  Le  Roman  de  Brut.    Ed.  Le  Roux  de  Liney.    2  vols.    Rouen, 
1836-38. 

See  also  Layamon  and  Section  VI,  Briits. 

Wauchier  de  Denain.     See  Chretien  de  Troyes,  [b],  and  Section 

VIII,  Weston,  [f]. 
Wolfram  von  Eschenbach,  [a]  Parzifal,  etc.     Ed.  A.  Leitzmann. 

5  vols.     Halle,  1902-06. 
[b]  Parzival.    Tr.  into  verse  by  J.  L.  Weston.    2  vols.    Lon- 
don, 1894. 

See  also  Chretien  de  Troyes,  [b];  Perceval. 

For  works  on  the  Arthurian  cycle  see  Section  VIII. 

VIII.    GENERAL  WORKS 

Allen,  J.  R.,  Celtic  Art  in  Pagan  and  Christian  Times.     London, 

1904. 
Anderson,  J.,  [a]  Scotland  in  Pagan   Times.     2  vols.     Edinburgh, 

1883-86.    (i.  Bronze  and  Stone  Ages;  ii.  Iron  Age.) 
[b]  Scotland  in  Early  Christian  Times.     2  vols.     Edinburgh, 

1881. 
Anwyl,  Sir  E.,  [a]  Celtic  Religion  in  Pre-Christian  Times.    London, 

1906. 
[b]  "The  Four  Branches  of  the  Mabinogi,"  in  ZCP  i.  277-93, 

ii.  124-33,  iii.  123-34  (1897-1901). 

[c]  "Ancient  Celtic  Deities,"  in  TGSInv  xxvi.  411  ff.  (1906). 

[d]  "Celtic  Goddesses,"  in  CR  iii.  26-51  (1907)- 


III— 25 


376  CELTIC  MYTHOLOGY 

Anwyl,  Sir  E.,  [e]  "Wales  and  the  Britons  of  the  North,"  in  CR  iv. 

125-52,  249-73  (1908). 
[f]  "The  Value  of  the  Mabinogion  for  the  Study  of  Celtic 

Religion,"  in  TCHR  ii.  234-44. 

[g]  "Keltic  Heathenism  in  the  British  Isles,"  in  Cambridge 


Medieval  History,  ii.  472-79.     Cambridge,  1913. 
See  also  Section  IX. 
Arnold,  M.,  On  the  Study  of  Celtic  Literature.     London,  1867. 

Bartholomew,  J.  C,  "Arthurian  Localities,"  in  Literary  and  His- 
torical Atlas  of  Europe,  p.  132.     London,  no  date  (1910). 

Bathurst,  W.  H.,  Roman  Antiquities  at  Lydney  Park.    London,  1879. 

Baudis,  J.,  "Mabinogion,"  in  FL  xxvii.  31-68  (1916). 

Bertrand,  a.,  Nos  origines.     4  vols.     Paris,  1887-97. 
i.  Archeologie  celtique  et  galloise. 
ii.  La  Gaule  avant  les  Gallois. 
iii.  Les  Celtes  dans  les  vallees  du  Po  et  du  Danube.     (In  collaboration 

with  S.  Reinach.) 
iv.  La  Religion  des  Gaulois,  les  druides  et  le  druidisme. 

BiRCH-HiRSCHFELD,  A.,  Die  Sage  vom  Gral.    Leipzig,  1877. 

Blanchet,  J.  A.,  Traite  des  monnaies  gauloises.    2  parts.    Paris,  1905. 

Bloch,  G.,  [a]  Religion  des  Gaulois,"  in  Revue  internationale  de 
Venseignement,  xxix.  533-54,  xxx.  145-61  (1895). 

[b]  Les  Origines:  la  Gaule  independante  et  la  Gaule  romaine. 

Paris,   1901.     (Vol.  i,  part  2,  of  E.  Lavisse,  Histoire  de  France.) 

Borlase,  W.  C,  The  Dolmens  of  Ireland.    3  vols.    London,  1S97. 

Brand,  J.,  Observations  on  Popular  Antiquities.  Ed.  with  additions 
by  W.  C.  Hazlitt.    3  vols.    London,  1870. 

Brown,  A.  C.  L.,  [a]  "The  Round  Table  before  Wace,"  in  Notes  and 
Studies  in  Philology  and  Literature,  vii.  183-205  (1900). 

[b]  "Iwain,"  in  Studies  and  Notes  in  Philology  and  Literature, 

viii.  1-147  (1903). 
Campbell,  Lord  A.,  Craignish  Tales.     London,  1889. 
Campbell,  J.   F.,  [a]  Popular   Tales  of  the  West  Highlands,  Orally 

Collected.     4  vols.     Edinburgh,  1890-93. 

[b]  Leabhar  na  Feinne.    See  Section  V  (b). 

[c]  See  Section  V  (b),  Dragon  Myth,  The  Celtic. 

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[b]  "Etudes  sur  la  provenance  du  cycle  arthurien,"  in  Ro- 
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Paton,  Lucy  A.,  [a]  "Merlin  and  Ganieda,"  in  Modern  Language 
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[b]  Le  Folk-lore  de  France.     4  vols.     Paris,  1904-07. 

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Spence,  L.,  Legends  and  Romances  of  Brittany.     London,  1917. 
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Stokes,  W.,  [a]  Goidelica.     2nd  ed.     London,  1872. 

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F.  C.  A.  Fick,   Vergleichendes  Worterbuch  der  indogermanischen 
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[c]  Numerous  texts  and  translations  in  RCel. 


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ViLLEMARQUE,  T.  H.  DE  LA,  [a]  Barzaz-Breiz :  chants  populaires  de  la 
Bretagne.     2  vols.     Paris,  1846. 

[b]  Contes  populaires  des  anciens  Bretons,  precede  d'essai  sur 

I'origine  des  epopees  de  la  tdble-ronde.     Paris,  1842. 

[c]  Myrdhinn,  ou  Merlin,  son  histoire,  ses  ceuvres.     Paris,  1862. 

[d]  Les   Romans   de    la   table-ronde  et  les   contes  des  anciens 


Bretons.     3rd  ed.     Paris,  i860. 

Watson,  W.  J.     See  MacBain,  [d]. 

VVechssler,  E.,  Die  Sage  vom  heiligen  Graal.     Halle,  1898. 

Wentz,  W.  Y.  E.,  The  Fairy  Faith  in  Celtic  Countries.     London,  1911. 

Weston,  Jessie  L.,  [a]  The  Legend  of  Sir  Gazvain:  Studies  upon  its 
Original  Scope  and  Significance.     London,  1897. 


BIBLIOGRAPHY  385 

Weston,  Jessie  L.,  [b]  The  Legend  of  Sir  Lancelot  du  Lac:  Studies 
■upon  its  Origin,  Development,  and  Position  in  the  Arthurian 
Romantic  Cycle.     London,  1901. 

— [c]  The  Three  Days^   Tournament:  A  Study  in  Romance  and 

Folklore.     London,  1903. 

[d]  King  Arthur  and  his  Knights,     London,  1905. 

[e]  The  Quest  of  the  Holy  Grail.     London,  191 3. 

[f]  The  Legend  of  Sir  Perceval:  Studies  upon  its  Origin,  Develop- 
ment, and  Position  in  the  Arthurian  Cycle.  2  vols.  London, 
1906-09.  (i.  Chretien  de  Troyes  and  Wauchier  de  Denain; 
ii.  Prose  Perceval  According  to  the  Modena  Manuscript.) 

[g]  "The  Grail  and  the  Rites  of  Adonis,"  in  FL  xviii.  283- 


305  (1907). 

See  also  Section  VII. 
Wilde,  Lady,  Ancient  Legends,  Mystic  Charms,  and  Superstitions  of 

Ireland.     2  vols.     London,  1887. 
WiNDiscH,  E.,  Kurzgefasste  irische  Grammatik.     Leipzig,  1879. 

See  also  Section  V.  (b),  Irische  Texte ;  Tain  Bo  Ciialnge,  [a]. 
Wise,  T.  A.,  Paganism  in  Caledonia.     London,  1884. 
Wood-Martin,  W.  G.,  [a]  Pagan  Ireland.     London,  1895. 
[b]  Traces  of  the  Elder  Faiths  of  Ireland.     2  vols.     London, 

1902. 
Wright,  T.,  The  Celt,  the  Roman,  and  the  Saxon.     London,  1852. 
Yeats,  W.  B.,  [a]  "Prisoners  of  the  Gods,"  in  Nineteenth  Century, 

xliii.  91-104  (1898). 
[b]  "Ireland    Bewitched,"    in    Contemporary    Review,    Ixxvi. 

388-404  (1899). 
ZiMMER,  H.,  [a]  Keltische  Studien.    2  vols.    Berlin,  1881-84. 
[b]  Nennius  Vindicatus.     Berlin,  1893. 

[c]  "Keltische    Beitrage;    i.   Germanen,   germanische    Lehn- 

worter  und  germanische  Sagenelemente  in  der  altesten  Ueber- 
lieferung  der  irischen  Heldensage;  ii.  Brendan's  Meerfahrt,"  in 
ZDA  xxxii.  196-334,  xxxiii.  257-338  (1888-89). 

[d]  "Ueber    dem    compilatorischen    Charakter    der    irischen 

Sagentexte  in  sogenannten  Lebor  na  h-Uidhre,"  in  ZVS  xxviii. 

417-689  (1887). 
[e]  "  Bretonische  Elemente  in  der  Arthursage  des  Gottfried 

von   Monmouth,"  in   Zeitschrift  fiir  franzosische   Sprache   und 

Litteratur,  xii.  231-56  (1890). 

[f]  "Beitrage  zur   Erklarung   irischer   Sagentexte,"   in  ZCP 


i.  74-101,  iii.  285-303  (1897-99). 


386  CELTIC  MYTHOLOGY 

IX.    ARTICLES   ON    CELTIC   SUBJECTS    IN   THE   ENCY- 
CLOPEDIA OF    RELIGION  AND  ETHICS  (vols,  i-x) 

Anwyl,  Sir  E.,  "Arthurian  Cycle,"  ii.  1-7. 

"Asceticism  (Celtic),"  ii.  71-73. 

"Bards  (Breton),"  ii.  412-14. 

"Bards  (Welsh),"  ii.  416-20. 

"Children  (Celtic),"  iii.  529-32. 

"Communion  with  Deity  (Celtic),"  iii.  747-51. 

"Crimes  and  Punishments  (Celtic),"  iv.  261-69. 

"Demons  and  Spirits  (Celtic),"  iv.  572-76. 

"Family  (Celtic),"  v.  728-30. 

"Inheritance  (Celtic),"  vii.  297-99. 

"Law  (Celtic),"  vii.  828-30. 

"Merlin,"  viii.  565-70. 

AsTLEY,  H.  J.  DuKiNFiELD,  "  Cup-  and  Ring-Markings,"  iv.  363-67 
Barns,  T,  "All  Fools'  Day,"  i.  331-33. 

"Candlemas,"  iii.  189-94. 

"Disease  and  Medicine  (Celtic),"  iv.  747-49. 

"Michaelmas,"  viii.  619-23. 

Brown,  G.  Baldwin,  "Art  (Celtic),"  i.  837-45. 
Crawley,  A.  E.,  "Cursing  and  Blessing,"  iv.  367-74. 

"May,  Midsummer,"  viii.  501-03. 

D'Alviella,  Count  Goblet,  "  Circumambulation,"  iii.  657-59. 

"Cross,"  iv.  324-29. 

Dottin,  G.,  "Architecture  (Celtic),"  i.  692-93. 

"Cosmogony  and  Cosmology  (Celtic),"  iv.  138. 

"Divination  (Celtic),"  iv.  787-88. 

"Marriage  (Celtic),"  viii.  432-37. 

Gerig,  J.  L.,  "Blood-Feud  (Celtic),"  ii.  725-27. 

"Ethics  and  Morality  (Celtic),"  v.  456-65. 

"Hospitality  (Celtic),"  vi.  799-803. 

"Images  and  Idols  (Celtic),"  vii.  127-30. 

"Love  (Celtic),"  viii.  162-64. 

GoMME,  Sir  G.  L.,  "Folklore,"  vi.  57-59. 

Gray,  L.  H.,  "Altar  (Celtic),"  i.  337. 

"Ancestor-Worship  and  Cult  of  the  Dead  (Celtic),"  i.  440. 


BIBLIOGRAPHY  387 

Gray,  L.  H.,  "Birth  (Celtic),"  ii.  645. 

"Cock,"  iii.  694-98. 

GwYNN,  E.  J.,  "Fosterage,"  vi.  104-09. 

Hartland,  E.  S.,  "Foundations  and  Foundation  Rites,"  vi.  109-15. 

Hull,  Eleanor,  "Cuchulainn  Cycle,"  iv.  353-57. 

"Fate  (Celtic),"  v.  782-83. 

"Hymns  (Irish  Christian),"  vli.  25-28. 

Hyde,  D.,  "Bards  (Irish),"  ii.  414-16. 

Keane,  a.  H.,  "Europe,"  v.  591-97- 

Keith,  A.  B..  "Numbers  (Aryan),"  §5,  ix.  411. 

Knight,  G.  A.  F.,  "Bridge,"  ii.  848-57. 

Lehmann,  E.,  "Christmas  Customs,"  iii.  608-IO. 

MacCulloch,  J.  A.,  "Baptism  (Ethnic),"  ii.  367-75. 

"Blest,  Abode  of  the  (Celtic),"  ii.  689-96. 

"Branches  and  Twigs,"  ii.  831-33. 

"Cakes  and  Loaves,"  iii.  57-61. 

"Calendar  (Celtic),"  iii.  78-82. 

"Celts,"  iii.  277-304. 

"Changeling,"  iii.  358-63- 

"Charms  and  Amulets  (Celtic),"  iii.  412-13. 

"Door,"  iv.  846-52. 

■ "Druids,"  v.  82-89. 

"Dualism  (Celtic),"  v.  102-04. 

"Earth,  Earth-Gods,"  v.  127-31. 

"Fairy,"  V.  678-89. 

"Festivals  and  Fasts  (Celtic),"  v.  838-43. 

"Head,"  vi.  532-40. 

"Heart,"  vi.  556-59- 

"Horns,"  vi.  791-96. 

"Hymns  (Celtic),"  vii.  4-5. 

"Invisibility,"  vii.  404-06. 

"Landmarks  and  Boundaries,"  vii.  789-95. 

"Light  and  Darkness  (Primitive),"  viii.  47-51. 

"Lycanthropy,"  viii.  206-20. 

"Magic  (Celtic),"  viii.  257-59. 

"Mountains  and  Mountain-Gods,"  viii.  863-68. 

"Mouth,"  viii.  869-71. 


388  CELTIC  MYTHOLOGY 

MacCulloch,  J.  A.,  "Music  (Celtic),"  ix.  15-16. 

"Nameless  Gods,"  ix.  179-81. 

"Nature  (Primitive  and  Savage),"  ix.  201-07. 

"Ordeal  (Celtic),"  ix.  514-16. 

"Picts,"x.  1-6. 

MacLean,  M.,  "Feinn  Cycle,"  v.  823-27. 

MacRitchie,  D.,  "Giants,"  vi.  189-93. 

MuNRO,  R.,  "Death  and  Disposal  of  the  Dead  (Europe,  Prehis- 
toric)," iv.  464-72. 

"Lake-Dwellings,"  vii.  773-84. 

Robinson,  F.  N.,  "Deae  Matres,"  iv.  406-11. 

Ross,  J.  M.  E.,  and  Ross,  M.,  "Grail,  The  Holy,"  vi.  385-89. 

ScHRADER,  0.,  "Aryan  Religion,"  ii.  11-57. 

Thomas,  N.  W.,  "Animals,"  i.  483-535. 

Williams,  H.,  "Church  (British),"  iii.  631-38. 


SLAVIC 


JPM 

AR 

ASP 

BM 

CCM 

FRB 

MGH: 

MlilG 


SRG 


NPPBl 
PPBl 
RTP 
SRL   . 
SRP  . 
SWAW 

ZE  .   . 


I.    ABBREVIATIONS 

Altpreussische  Monatschrift. 

Archiv  fiir  Religionswissenschaft. 

Archiv  fiir  slavische  Philologie. 

Baltische  Monatschrift. 

Casopis  ceskeho  Museum. 

Pontes  rerum  Bohemicarum. 

Monumenta  Germaniae  historica:  Scriptores  (rerum 

Germanicarum) . 
Mitteilungen   der   litauischen    litterarischen   Gesell- 

schaft. 
Neue  preussische  Provinzial-Blatter. 
Preussische  Provinzial-Blatter. 
Revue  des  traditions  populaires. 
Scriptores  rerum  Livonicarum. 
Scriptores  rerum  Prussicarum. 
Sitzungsberichte  der  Wiener  Akademie  der  Wissen- 

schaften. 
Zeitschrift  fiir  Ethnologie. 


II.     BIBLIOGRAPHY 

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1876. 

Aeneas  Sylvius  de'  Piccolomini,  De  Lithuania.  Ed.  T.  Hirsch,  in 
SRP  iv.  237-39. 

Afanasiyev,  a.,  Poeticeskiya  vozzreniya  Slavyan  na  prirodu.  3  vols. 
Moscow,  1865-69. 

Andrejanoff,  V.  VON,  Lettische  Mdrchen.  Leipzig,  no  date.  (Re- 
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Anickov,  E.  v.,  "Vesennyaya  obryadovaya  pesnya  na  zapade  i  y 
Slavyan,"  in  Sbornik  otdeleniya  russkago  yazyka  i  slovesnosti 
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390  SLAVIC  MYTHOLOGY 

Anickov,  E.  v.,  Yazycestvo  i  drevnaya  Rus.     Petrograd,  1914. 
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1870. 
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Bender,  J.,  De  veterum  Prutenorum  diis.     Braunsberg,  1865. 
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APM  ii.  577-603  (1865),  iv.  1-27,  97-135  (1867). 
Bernhardy,  W.,  "Bausteine  zur  slawischen  mythologie,"  in  Jahr- 

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Bezzenberger,  a.,  "Mythologisches  in  altlitauischen  Texten,"  in 
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(1877)- 
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(1886). 

"  Mythologische  Studien,"  in  ASP  xiv.  1 61-91  (1892). 

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Starozytna  Littva.     Ludy  i  bogi.     Warsaw,  1904. 


Buga,  K.,  Medziaga  Lietuvit^,  Latviu  ir  Priisu  Mytologijai.     2  parts. 

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